2017 has been the year of the Deer for me. On all my adventures into the natural world, whether camping, taking road trips, simple strolls or day hikes, I have been encountering these majestic creatures—a reminder of an intention that I set coming into the year. My goal was to have a gentle year, one that brings me to new spiritual heights with little worldly effort – an energy perfectly symbolized by the deer. In mythology, the deer, stag or hart appears as a representation of a deity, the reincarnation of a loved one passed, or the companion of a master such as Buddha, Jesus or Krishna. For humans, the deer bridges the gap between the developed world and the wilderness, the civil and the savage. Many hunters have been lured deep into the forest – losing track of time and place, bewildered by the natural world – for a kill that may not come to fruition. For millennia, deer have provided sustenance and survival for animals and humans alike. They are a primary food source for various predators, and even their antlers (when shed) provide essential minerals for smaller fauna. Additionally, deer have sacrificed their flesh to feed our families, their hides to keep us warm and provide the materials for ceremonial drums. For this reason, we must remember to honor these most sacred animals and offer gratitude every time we see one of those gentle, innocent, yet regal beings.
On a recent camping trip to the Chiricahuas, my partner Stuart and I came across many white-tails on our drive and during walks; I began to feel a profound connection to them. Most animals seem to respond when I sing in high, gentle tones and on one particular morning walk, I witnessed deer stop in their tracks to listen to my song. What an exhilarating experience it was to spend time with them amongst the fragrant ponderosa pines. We were also fortunate to spot a wild turkey walking with a mule deer as well as two foxes tailing a bobcat (no joke!). Due to the wildfire season, no fires of any kind were permitted, leaving us in the darkness of a moonless night and making it a little frightening for this semi-urban dweller. My mind was full of worries that kept me awake that night in the tent, while who knows what was scurrying in the bushes. So, I turned to meditation and prayer, asking the mountains and woods to help guide me through my fears. As I sat with closed eyes, I felt antlers growing out of my forehead, intertwining with the tree branches above and reaching like antennas way up to the stars, sun and moon. All of my worries and fears seeped out of me through these imaginary antlers and into the universe - in fact, my mind was no longer in my head, it was outside of my body, no longer needing to digest any mental matters. And I felt free of my burdens. Disclaimer: No substances of any kind were in my system—this was pure imagination and guided inspiration. For more information on this type of visualization and drum journeying, find a shamanic practitioner/teacher and read the works of Dr. Carl Jung.
This profound experience served as the inspiration for the Bastet Perfume Society’s September perfume, Hart, arriving just in time for Summer’s end welcoming the Autumn Season of harvest and gratitude. For this formulation, I sought to evoke the scent of a morning walk in the conifer forest and the alluring musky scent of the deer. Notes of Vanilla, Balsam, and Fir are married with the aroma of soft Mimosa Flowers and a touch of Honey. The name Hart refers to the mythical white stag, who propels us to reach new spiritual heights and lures us to begin new adventures. Deer have an exceptional sense of smell, which they rely upon for survival, attraction and nourishment. Furthermore, I was astonished to learn that stags have seven individual scent glands throughout their bodies, one being an interdigital gland that secretes aromas between their toes to communicate information. Wow!
Wishing you Blessings of gentle empowerment for the August 21st Solar Eclipse! It’s time to step into your authentic power!
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