***Ships on or before December 16th***
// A box of endings and beginnings //
The descent from autumn into winter parks a period of intense change, and intense stillness for me. I start to take stock of the last year, and think about the upcoming year, and I do so in a very ritualistic manner.
Making a surprise box at this time becomes a deep meditation: I spend days up in the mountains gathering various conifers, making incense, making bitters, syrups, liqueurs and teas, and it becomes my own little ritual, sinking into rhythms, burning incense, and sorting through what I want to discard from the past and invite in for the future. Death and rebirth. At the end of it, I feel somehow cleaner, clearer, like I’m not separate from the transitions happening all around me. And I think a huge part of that is to do with the fact that I’m working with conifers.
Conifers represent something old, something wise, something bigger than our little time as humans.
Most of our old-growth conifer forests are dying, be it beetle or wildfire. This is an odd time, we’re teetering on a precipice and on the other side of it is a world without these forests. My goal isn’t to depress you; there’s a grand scheme and we humans are but a blip on it. This planet will be here long after we’re gone and it will continue to evolve with or without our helping it along. But this precipice, this coming change, its one that is sad simply because these places will no longer exist, and one day there won’t be anybody around who even experienced them.
In the areas where I gather conifers, wildfire is no stranger-- mile after mile of blackened ground covers areas where Jeffrey pine needles, pedicularis and wild roses once reigned. And it occurs to me, as I walk over cracked earth, that fire can be healing, purifying, as can the smoke it produces. Ceremonial smoke is familiar all over the world, be it juniper in Northern Europe, frankincence in Africa, palo santo in Ecuador, white sage and artemisia in the US. Ceremonial incense smoke fills temples worldwide, yes, partly to kill airborne pathogens (let's be practical), but also because smoke itself holds something otherworldly in it. Through the wisps of ever changing smoke, the world around us can appear as if a mirage, through which we can see past our own 'reality' into something even more real, certainly more scary. Smoke can hide, smoke can reveal; smoke can cure, smoke can kill. That which we don’t want can disappear into smoke, and that which we want in the future can emerge from smoke. It is otherworldly, and representative of the transformative nature of fire. Smoke is the by-product of the life-giving and destroying fire, and that fire burns within each of us, as smoke calls to our spirits while it curls restlessly into the air.
The Smoke & Sacred surprise box is going to be an exploration of the passage of time, the conifer forests, and of sacred, purifying, life-changing smoke: of lapsang souchong tea, and the bright conifer resin. Of the smoke of incense, the woodsmoke in a fire, a hot pine-scented bath surrounded by candles, wood-fired acorn and pine needle tea sipped sitting around the fire, smoked foods, and the conifer forests that spurned this train of thought in the first place: White fir, piñon pine, Jeffrey pine, Douglas fir. Resins. Incenses. Smoke and fire.
Medicine from the old forests: to burn away the old, bring in the new; and most importantly, to connect you to that slow, deep, old earth energy that sees time and change so differently to us, but is fully present amid its own transformation.
This box will contain four products, things like (though not necessarily):
The box will also come with artwork and recipes. All of this will come wrapped in a piece of natural fabric (either natural cotton, linen or silk) and arrive on your doorstep on or before December 21st.