Saturday, September 15, 2018

Chypre Perfumery Course - Sign Up Now!

Lightree

The island of Cyprus (Chypre in French) is where the most ancient perfume factory was discovered. Just like these first Cypriot perfumers, we'll roam the Mediterranean garrigue and discover how to infuse local wild plants in olive oil, for both healing, beautifying and fragrant properties.
Chypre is most iconic fragrance family for fall, as it is inspired by the scent of sun-baked earth and Mediterranean plants, and the damp forest floor. There is no better time in the year to craft Chypres than the fall and in their original natural habitat where so many of the raw materials grow wild!
This week-long course covers studying the raw materials, perfume structure, how to blend a formula, how to write a formula, building accords and creating simple oil-based perfumes using oil infusions that we'll be handcrafting ourselves, and basic Chypre formulation in an alcohol base.
For those who can't attend in person, you are welcome to browse Ayala's classic collection of Chypre  perfumes.

Featured Workshop: 
Oil infusions from wild plants and/or making Oiselets de Chypre (Medieval potpourris shaped into birds)

Fragrant Field Trip:
Exploring the Mediterranean Garrigue

Featured Guest Speaker:
Local vintner, owner of a local boutique winery plus wine-tasting the "Garrigue" wines they offer


Location:
The course takes place at Ayala Moriel's new studio in Clil, Israel. This little off-the-grid organic village has scenic is in one of the country's most fascinating regions, the Western Galilee - and has a view of the Mediterranean sea (gorgeous beaches are only 20min drive), Haifa Bay and Mount Carmel. Clil provides a unique experience for students who choose to stay here (although you don't have to - there are also plenty of places around, but keep in mind that in that case car is a must). The village is solar-powered and has small population of under 1000 people, who live in custom-built homes and semi-temporary dwellings (yurts, teepees, modified train cars and shipping containers, etc.) that are scattered among ancient olive groves and wild bush and Mediterranean garrigue (comprising of carobs, oaks, pistachia and thorny bushes). Despite its size, the village is a community bustling with life and culture: our neighbours are the village's cafe (inside a tent) that is opened Thursday-Saturday and hosts live concerts, and there. A large percentage of the population are alternative healers (we're just across the "street" from an integrated holistic clinic offering massage, acupuncture, ayurvedic treatments, and more) as well as creative artists, who have their ateliers in the village - and some would also be happy to show you around - painters, sculptors, potters, glass artists, silversmiths and goldsmiths, basket weavers, etc.

Amenities:
There is a bakery that is opened twice a week (Sunday and Thursday) and offers Pizza Nights on Tuesdays. On all other days bread can be pre-ordered or purchased at the local Organic Garden (which tops off their own produce with other fruit and vegetables and organic goodies produced in the village and by nearby artisans). Thursday evenings there is a little market in the village's playground, weather permitting. Also less relevant but sometimes handy are the village's book exchange and clothing exchange, which is open 24/7 and is completely free (take what you want and leave what you no longer use).

Accommodations within the village include one boutique hotel, one guest house (India-style "hostel" on the second level of one of our neighbours) and several cabins for rent - some also offering breakfast. Sublets among the village's inhabitants are often listed and could be arranged if booked enough in advance, and also near Cafe Clil there is a small campsite for those who enjoy a fully rustic experience. If you choose to stay outside of the village - we are only 20-30min drive (depending on traffic) from lovely towns that offer also many wonderful attractions to visitors - i.e. Acre and Nahariya.

In short - there are plenty of places to explore and people to meet in Clil, so I'm sure you will enjoy your visit and find things to do and discover outside of the classroom.

There are only 2 spaces remaining in this session. Sign up now to secure your spot!



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Friday, August 17, 2018

Forest Medicine


Mini Witch Cauldron
Anywhere in nature, including deep in the woods, the trees teach us self-healing and the plant-teachers provide medicines for body and soul. I brought my little witch cauldron to burn incense (redcedar chips and Palo Santo) without risk of burning the forest with me.

Forest Medicine
There were so many witch-inspiring finds in the forest, from intimidating-looking fungi (of which I'm yet to know any medicinal properties, but I know some of them do have that gift). To saps dripping from trees' wounds. Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) is a famous one (it is NOT the one in the photograph!), which is used for protecting the liver, for anti-inflammatory conditions, boost the immune system, ureduces anxiety and depression, aids sleep and more. In Chinese it is called lingzhi mushroom, which literally means "mushroom of immortality" and is used by many TCMs. In any case, you should not be foraging it in the woods without getting proper training in mycology, and also use it responsibly with the guidance of an herbalist or trained TCM. 

Forest Medicine
Spruce pitch and sap, for example, can be infused into oil and made into a salve that can be rubbed on the chest and relieve coughs and respiratory infections, and massages onto aching muscles. 
Plant Medicine
This collection of plants grow side-by-side on Alouette Lake. Can you recognize them all?

Plant Medicine (Pearly Everlasting)
First, as seen clearly on the foreground, there is Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea). Although it is similar in appearance, and also from the Asteraceae family, it is not as closely related to immortelle (Helicrysum). It is not so much in use in Western herbalism or medicine, but was used by First Nations to treat mostly respiratory ailments, including asthma. This is because it has both antihistamine and expectorant qualities. It is also an anti-inflammatory, astringent, diaphoretic and a mild sedative. It is used for treating headaches, colds, fevers, sore throats, allergies and asthma. To read more about how to use it, visit Wildness Within and Natural Medicinal Herbs.  It can also be used as incense - preferably on a hot stone or Japanese Koh-Doh technique on a micah plate.

Next to it also grows St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), the world one and only incredible medicinal plant that can actually treat depression. It is why it is so heavily regulated in the USA, because it's properties would threaten the existence of fluoxetine (or in its famously known brand name, Prozac) and other very profitable antidepressants. Additionally, St. John's Wort oil extract (an oil infusion that has a deep red colour) is used for treating skin diseases such as eczema and also joint pains. This is a powerful plant, and must only be used with the guidance and supervision of a licensed Herbal Medicine practitioner. Some of the side effects known for St. John's Wort are photo-toxicity (burns upon exposure to sun), and counter-acting certain drugs.

Last but not least, the shiny green leaves (more at the bottom of the pic) are those of Black Cottonwood, AKA Western Balsam Poplar (Populus trichocarpa), which contains salicin (the aspirin compound that also present in willowbark). The buds' extract (either in oil or alcohol) is also used medicinally, mostly as an anti-infalmmaroty, especially for joint and muscle pain. A salve can also be prepared from the oil infusion. Also it smells great - sweet-balsamic and ambery, which makes it a good medicine for the soul. I used it in Komorebi perfume to create the beautiful amber-like scent of the rain forest in autumn. 

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Anatomy of a Tree

Spruce
Trees are infinitely inspiring to me. It is not for nothing that trees are used as a metaphor for humans. There are many lessons to learn from the trees and their way of being.

First their leaves, reaching out for the light and photosynthesizing it into energy. For instance - these feathery spruce needles smell divine and I can never go for any forest stroll or hike without rubbing a bit between my fingers and sneaking it into my water bottle. They add a citrusy-forest aroma to the water, and also contain vitamins C.

Like the tree, we reach up and for the light, and aspire to become more than just our flesh and blood. Incorporating light into our life brings an energy that is not possible to obtain by other means of nourishment.

Leaves not only absorb but also filter the light in so many ways, creating Komorebi patterns on the environment beneath them. This is perhaps also a way to protect the areas that cannot handle too much light from blinding the darkest areas. Gentle or dim light is valuable for allowing other life forms to exists, allowing also our shadow parts to develop and express themselves.

Forest Magic
Tree branches spread their arms as if in prayer or dance, and act as a host for many birds, squirrels, other critters and on their own are like a forest for various lichens, mosses and even ferns! Some of these life forms give nourishment back to the tree, that the tree cannot absorb form the light or the soil on its own.

Our hands are capable not only of creating, but also of nourishing and allowing or enabling others to create and be productive. Our hands not only give but also receive.
Woodpecker's Braile
This tree trunk was marked by a woodpecker, who searched for bugs within the bark, and while at it writing a whole novel in Braile letters! Different types of woodpeckers leave a different pattern. Can you read what it says?

Woven Bark
Redcedar bark is thick, strong and flexible, withstands decay for decades. Strips of inner redcedar bark is used by First Nations of the West Coast to craft many useful artifacts - from ropes and fishing nets to baskets and even garments. Woven into ponchos and hats, they would protect the person wearing them for getting soaked wet. And they also smell wonderfully dry, woody and, well, cedary!

Weeping Spruce
The bark is protective and strong, but when damaged - it oozes healing sap, like this (resin-) weeping spruce. The sap is not only healing for the tree itself - protecting it form dehydration, fungal infections and further decay. It also has healing properties for humans. Spruce pitch is used in various herbal medicine preparations, for example, in a salve to relive chest colds, muscle pains, sprains, and more.

Weeping Spruce
Our tears too are healing. And our wounds, although make us appear damaged, also allow us to open up and give more of ourselves and express our love to the world around us.

Old Fella
Really old dude... Smiling tree stump.
Even though it was chopped up by ignorant loggers almost a hundred years ago, it keeps smiling. I don't know how one does that, but I sure hope to learn that skill before I turn 100 years old.

Interwoven

Intertwined roots that seem to have a life of their own, reaching for symbiotic embrace. People can live all their life wondering and exploring, but there is always the deep desire underneath to go back to one's roots. This is not a metaphor, but an essential soul need: the desire to connect to and nourish from the deepest part of our psyche. The one that grounds us, protects us from swaying to far from our truth, and also the part that draws nourishment from the depths of the earth. Our roots, like the tree's, connect us to our ancestors and also to the earth (from which we come and to which we shall return).

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Moss Meditation

Lightree
Wake up to the sunrise caressing your tent's screened window.  Crawl out of the tent quietly. Don't bother with the shoes. Tiptoe under the canopy of trees. Walk softly on the moss-covered forest floor. Slowly and softly place each foot on the ground. Feel the moss tickling your heels and foot arches and toes, then slowly yielding to your weight, then remove each foot slowly from the ground. Look back. Have you left a footstep? How long till the moss recovered its original density?

Droplets of dew may tickle your feet and cool them down. Don't let the chill stop you from taking another step and another step. Try not to break any branches. Listen to the birds that have already woken up. Can you see any of them?

Find a moss-covered log and walk on it, placing heel in front of toe in front of heel. See how far you can go walking only on moss-covered logs. When you've given up,  collapse on the moss, looking up at the canopy. Burn a little cedar wood chip or spruce bough as a morning incense. An offering of gratitude.

Moss meditation




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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Water

Alouette Lake
The flow of it, the glow of it.. Broken sun rays reflecting on the lake's surface and breaking into glitter, like thousands of golden leaves on an autumn tree. Other times it is ripples of grey satin silk, cool and smooth and in a canoe gliding quietly among fallen tree stumps.
Gold Creek
Gold Creek descending from the Golden Ears, cool and deceptive. Sometimes still, and a few curves away creating violent currents, white water and waterfalls. A deep emerald-turquoise pool carved into the rock, water rushing down its height collecting energy and then dispersing into the rocks... curving lazily among spruce, cedar and fir.

Moomin Watermill

Water-carved quiet creekside beach, with smooth pebbles and wild clay banks, pools where dogs and children swim despite its chilly promise, and little whimsical watermills can be built from leaves, with the kind instructions of the Moomin book. The little things you find time for only in the summertime.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Off to the Woods!

Sunrise in the Forest
Off to camp in Golden Ears for a few days... Where the sunrise looks like this.

Lying on a log

Where a log serves as a bench (or a makeshift Pilates apparatus) and looking up you see the tree tops...

Into the Woods

Ground level is magic and dirt doesn't feel filthy at all.

Alouette Lake

And if you really feel like bathing you just go for a swim in the lake.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Last Call: Fall 2018 Perfumery Courses



Fall 2018 Perfumery Courses are fast approaching!
Sign up this weekend to Fall 2018 Perfumery Courses & Save!
We have some spaces remaining in the Chypre course (November 4-8), and have added another beginner-intermediate level course the following week, November 11-15. Registration closes 3 months prior to courses start date, so now is the time to secure your spot!Also there is a new book sale!Save 10% (more than $230) and join our fabulous Chype and Floriental courses offered this November, and $468 if you sign up for BOTH by August 12th - this will give you 10% off your tuition fee. To qualify, purchase both courses online using the code YHAMHKTB0AVG. I'm thrilled to offer new workshops and courses again this fall at my beautiful new studio in Clil, an eco-village located in the scenic Western Galilee (Northern Israel): Chypre (Nov 4-8) and/or Florientals (Nov 11-15) for an unforgettable experience and lasting knowledge!I feel particularly blessed in this new space, and fortunate to be able to continue teaching and making your learning process even more meaningful and memorable. My teaching approach incorporates all the senses, and provides you with inspiration from the unique point of view that was not possible in my previous establishment in the Pacific Northwest.Our new and improved Ayala Moriel's School of Perfumery & Aromatic Arts is located in a wonderful region full of creative artisans and I've already collaborated with a few - some of which have been featured guests at the perfume courses and workshops I've held, such as artisan distiller, bio-dynamic vintner, leather craftsman and a tobacco shack. The Middle East is one of the most exciting places for perfumery from both botanical, cultural and historic points of view. Additionally, I've built here a state-of-the-art studio space that is dedicated to the art of perfumery, and can comfortably accommodate up to 8 students and can function as a perfume school from hours-long workshops to full-week courses.The unique program I've built showcases a marvellous perfume collection of natural, niche and vintage fragrances that every perfumer should know about; hundreds of raw materials - and most special of all: being surrounded by many living plants that are actually used in perfumery - both as raw materials and as livinig and breathing references. Some of these plants grow wild, and others I've planted in what is slowly becoming a unique botanical garden of perfume plants. REGISTEATION Registration for both Fall courses ends August 12th. Because most of my students travel from far away to participate in this unique program, it is very important to sign up no less than 3 months prior to the course (even if you live closely in Israel). This ensures that the course you're interested will actually run and have a spot for you. So please secure your spot now!You can also reserve your spot via email and paying the registration fee, which is non-refundable ($500), and making payment arrangements (up to 3 payments) for the remaining balance; or you can pay in full now and receive 10% off if you register for BOTH courses. This will save you up to $468.As always, I'm happy to help make my students' stay in my "neighbourhood" as memorable, comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Because our new settings are so special and a little off-the-beaten track, I've teamed up with local businesses to offer you delicious lunches (complementary with your tuition), and have connections here that will help you find affordable and suitable accommodations within the village limits and the best services for all your needs (I've also prepared a special guide for you, which each student will receive upon registering to help you plan your trip). We'll also include some exciting fragrant field trips and feature workshop in each of the courses - experiences, smells and locations that were not possible in the previous settings and surroundings. COURSE/PRODUCT REVIEWS:Whether if you studied with me in person recently or long ago, have taken the correspondence courses, read my book - I would really appreciate you taking a moment to add a review and/or feedback of my program so that future students can also benefit from it! Adding your review is simple and easy, and would help me a great deal in continuing this program and getting more students interested and engaged. Simply click on the relevant course listed on my Perfume School Courses page, and click on the "write a review" button near the customers reviews at the bottom of the page. Looking forward to seeing you at my studio this coming fall!

Monday, August 06, 2018

The First Few Sips are the Hardest

Drink-Coffee-Ad

"The first few sips are the hardest", I tell my daughter, who's in her favourite coffee shop in Vancouver, sipping on her favourite beverage ever, which she always drinks. Except, she hasn't had it for almost two years. We simply weren't around.

First comes the ecstatic response when seeing the cup, filled over the brim with this crushed ice and mocha. Then comes a sip, and her facial expression changes. There is nothing wrong with the taste. It's exactly as she remembered it. Perhaps it's even too much the same as she remembers it. I can see how with every sip she's turning sadder, getting deeper into another place and another time then this very moment in the coffee shop where we're at. And the tears start welling up.

The first few sips are the hardest. The first one is a big wave of happiness, familiarity, comfort. Like the first time she had it (probably with her dad). Then she remembers sitting next to him in the coffee shop on Robson street , watching attentively over his shoulders as he's writing code on his laptop, for hours on end. It's a happy memory alright. Except that they don't do this anymore. And the wave of happiness is washed over by a tsunami of sadness, with rushing memories of all the good things that were and ain't no more. And also all the not so great memories like that time when mamma ordered the wrong drink and... oops, Mom, my coffee spilled on the floor. And before you even know it, she misses everything - elementary school, and summer camp, and this babysitter, and another. And every each person that ever got her that drink in that very same coffee shop.

The first few sips are the hardest. And if you're experiencing this flavour nostalgia for the first time, after many years of not tasting (or smelling!) something that has been deeply engrained in your life for ever so long, and don't have the words to express it, or the emotional tools to cope with it, it might become a natural disaster of personal magnitude. Maybe you'll never even drink coffee again after this. It's just too much like an emotional rollercoaster, with the ups so high and the lows so devastating that this aroma has now registered as a dangerous thing in your mind.

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