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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Visions of Vespertina - lessons in Perfume, Passion and Allegory - Roxana Villa and Gregory Spalenka

By Beth

It is rare as a writer, that I’m left speechless. But Justify Fullthere are those rare occasions when I come across a story so haunting that I’m left with simply my own tears and almost no way to put them into words. About a month ago, I arrived home from California to find a beautiful package waiting for me from Roxana Villa. I waited for a perfect day to open it and sooner than later I found myself alone, listening to thick warm raindrops splattering against the windows. What I found when I opened the thick envelope was a complete mystery to me. There was a beautiful little pot of solid perfume sealed with Roxana’s trademark bee and enveloped in a beautiful bag of sheer rose colored chiffon tied with a simple green ribbon, but there was also a beautifully illustrated book entitled “The Visions of Vespertina” and a cd that was inserted ever so gracefully into the sleeve inside. It was simple, magical and completely enchanting.

I was amazed. I’d never considered it, perfume as music, illustration.....perfume as art, art as perfume. It was an inspiring concept to consider, somewhat surreal as if from another time or place and incredibly bold in its conception. I knew by the way that my hair stood on end that there was something here for me to consider, to be profoundly moved by.

So I made myself a pot of yarrow tea , opened up the lovely little pot of perfume and inserted the cd into my computer. All of a sudden the kitchen where I work was transformed into a beautiful cloister with a soft rain outside, fresh flowers and herbs and a walled garden all around. I found myself swept away and captivated by the story of Vespertina , a young mystic who is in essence a time traveler, one who walks between the worlds of this life and the next. She is one born to a very long lineage of those who travel back and forth through the veils and although it is she who is ultimately destined to to bring balance back into both of those worlds, she is emotionally lazy and unwilling to claim that capacity to provoke healing that is her birthright.

Vespertina in her journey is opened powerfully to the possibilities of passionate , yet unrequited love with her lover Dante’ and it is she who learns the ultimate lesson in the releasing of that passion. I think that many of us can identify with experiencing a love so powerful and ultimately so earthbound that we are simultaneously destroyed and yet opened up by the very nature of its elusiveness. I have an image of Vespertina standing at her garden wall holding a rose given to her by her lover and yet with her head encircled in a wreath of stars. Her story serves as a reminder to me that there is a fine balance to be walked in this life, that we are all far vaster beings than we know and yet our time here is precious. I know that in my own life, to walk amongst the stars I need to have my feet planted firmly here on Earth and it has been a hard won lesson. Every time that I have tried to do it in reverse I’ve come crashing down with the weight and agony of my ungrounded spirit. Walking between worlds comes very easily to me and so does being carried away by the rapture of those journeys. Many times I have been burdened by a love that seemed so real and yet was made that way only by the power of my own imagination. It took me years to understand that I was that love and it was then and only then that living the powerful life that was to be my birthright was even possible.

Vespertina’s story, her perfume and the gorgeous music that is woven along through is an spiritual yet earthly allegory of the rarest and most exquisite sort. Greg Spalenka (along with Michelle Barnes) is the co-author , musician and illustrator of “The Visions of Vespertina”. Greg is Roxana’s adorable husband and together they have created a breathtaking work of conceptual art with a fluid life of its own, an unfinished and still unfolding story that we can all place ourselves into. The music is magnificent with its origins found in many of the old Renaissance masterpieces. The paintings are done in the style of the most glorious illuminations and yet they are more than that, they seem to be portals into another time and place, beckoning you gently to explore those secret places in your soul that only you know exist.

Roxana Villas “Vespertina” perfume is grounded in sweet scent of honey and beeswax with flourishes of sandalwood and frankincense, rose and jasmine. There are over 20 different and beautifully handmade botanical essences used in the making of it and when I wear it I feel as if I have become the lady in one of my beloved French Unicorn Tapestries . It is available as a gorgeous liquid perfume as well as a sumptuous solid. As with all perfumes made by the divine Ms. Villa, this making of this fragrance harms none yet has bewitched almost everyone that I’ve let close enough to enjoy it. Vespertina has a quiet energy , created in the monastic image of the heroine who has inspired it, yet is a very seductive fragrance that is completely full of all of the forbidden nuances and subtle inuendos that can’t help but inspire a deep hunger filed with equal parts desire and passion. Wear it at your own risk and enjoy the results. If falling that deeply in love with yourself isn’t worth it, nothing is...........

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8 Comments:

Blogger Flora said...

Okay Beth, this is scary.....

"Many times I have been burdened by a love that seemed so real and yet was made that way only by the power of my own imagination. It took me years to understand that I was that love and it was then and only then that living the powerful life that was to be my birthright was even possible."

Apparently you are really a gifted clairvoyant who has been spying on my life! I am still learning this lesson, and it's a hard one to accept.

Seriously, this is sublime, and it's about much more than perfume, it's truly transcendent. I needed this today! And what a lovely gift to receive from Roxana and Greg, they are both so talented and generous.

12:19 AM EST  
Blogger Bethane said...

"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love."

Mother Theresa

9:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for summing up their work together so poetically. This wholeness and connectedness that they bring to their work is so tender.

3:31 PM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, Beth-
You've really outdone yourself !

These fine folk are awe-inspiring.
I'm not surprised at the power of their collaboration in a multi-sensorial vein.

4:14 PM EST  
Blogger elle said...

What a magical piece! Thank you! I'll be thinking about it for some time to come. And I love this - "they seem to be portals into another time and place, beckoning you gently to explore those secret places in your soul that only you know exist." For me, perfume at its best has precisely this effect, so it seems beautifully appropriate to me that a scent can be interwoven in presentation w/ paintings and music that have the same effect of dissolving boundaries of time and space. Definitely must try Vespertina.

5:58 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I love this scent, and love your description of it. You put me in the shade...

11:18 PM EST  
Blogger Beth Gehring said...

Hi everyone! I'm so sorry to not post my usual thank yous! I hope that all of you know just howmuch I appreciate your words!
A young friend of mine has put himself in the ICU. He is thankfully still with us although being watched closely.
That is theonly thing that could keep me from responding to teach of you!

All my love,
beth

11:46 PM EST  
Blogger Tammy said...

Beth, Beth, Beth, thank you. And prayers being said for your friend and all who love him.

6:42 PM EST  

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