Post by Azar
Catamara Rosarium is the perfumer, ritual artist, alchemist and master herbalist behind Rosarium Blends. She not only creates stunning, magical natural fragrances and incense but also offers an extensive line of philtres, salves, essential oils and related items as well as consultations on the Rosarium Blends websitehttp://rosariumblends.com/.
I met Catamara and her partner, distiller and perfumer Marcus McCoy (House of Orpheus), at the second Annual Seattle Artisan Fragrance Salon in May. Catamara generously provided me with a number of samples to take home. I have fallen in love with her rich, energetic fragrances and will be writing more about them in the coming months.
Today it is my pleasure to ask Catamara a few questions for APJ.
I have been wondering about your background in alchemy, herbalism and magick. Did you grow up in the craft? When did you realize that you were drawn to these ancient arts and sciences?
I have been drawn to the craft since I was a young girl though I didn’t have any way to access any real information or know anyone who did until my late teens. I became profoundly immersed into various traditions from 1997 to present. My passion for making herbal concoctions began about 10 years ago and I’ve become deeply obsessed with the ancient arts and sciences involved with alchemy and the herbal arts ever since.
What does it mean to you to be a ritual artist?
I started using the term ‘ritual artist’ as a way I felt best described dance collaborations I was involved with in times past. I integrated tribal belly dance movement with the invocation of particular deities or god forms during the performance –therefore I wasn’t just belly dancing, I was invoking and embodying that energy as an integral part of the performance. The term ‘ritual artist’ has transmuted and has been more directly focused into my work in the plant kingdom. All of my formulas are created in a ritual setting during specific astrological elections, planetary hours and lunar cycles. Each product I create has specific energies I invoke ritually while concocting, drawn down into the matter to charge and assist in furthering the embodiment of the charm.
How does alchemy and your working knowledge of the elemental processes figure into the creation of your natural perfumes?
Every plant has specific energies that can be worked with magickally. My formulas are first determined by researching all plants and the lore that may be specifically related (in varying ways) to the formula I wish to create. I do not simply mix scents together because they smell good, I focus first on the energy I want to alchemicalize by combining what I know of each with the other. The process of knowing how much of each scent I select to blend thereafter is an intuitive process.
Your fragrances are created with the help of carefully crafted charms and powerful spiritual personalities and are designed to be used to manifest specific, life changing results. With that in mind do you consider your natural perfumes appropriate for everyone to enjoy casually as beautiful personal scents?
People are attracted to scent for a variety of reasons. When speaking to customers about which blends they are drawn to (before knowing what it was designed for), I often find them to be pleasantly surprised when they learn of the meaning and how it applies in their current life circumstances. While my blends are carefully crafted for various purposes, they will work with great success if worn with intention and on a subtle level. Otherwise I do believe they can be enjoyed and worn casually, and believe that if someone is attracted to the scent it is likely they will appreciate the effects as well.
Can you describe your relationships with green intelligence and the spirits of the plant kingdom? Do disciplines like vegetalismo and curanderismo figure into your work as a perfumer?
Each plant has an intelligence or genii connected to it, is a great teacher, and there is a myriad of ways to connect with them. My relationship is that of a student and they direct me in which ways to work with them. My work with Vegetalismo has introduced me to perfumes shamans work with during ceremony, of which my partner and I have created two blends inspired by this, ‘Agua de Palo Santo’ and ‘Agua de Flora’. Curanderismo factors in by my emphasis on creating blends that have a psycho-spiritual healing effect to cause change.
I have been enjoying the beautiful photos of your “poison garden” on facebook. (Poison gardens remind me of the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter”.) As a gardener I am well aware that at least half of the plants I cultivate are poisonous. These plants are, for the most part, simply protecting themselves with alkaloids, saponins etc. Why do you maintain a poison garden and what have you learned from keeping a garden devoted specifically to poisonous plants?
I have always been drawn to the beauty, blessing and bane of those plants that are deemed ‘poisonous’. I love sitting with them through all cycles of their life, during the day and nighttime hours in communion and meditation. I am fascinated by the complexity of their blooms, seeds, roots, thorns, leaves, vines, etc, each with purpose. I believe everything is a poison and can harm you in excess. The poison garden requires deep respect, honor, intuition and knowledge.
As a self described “Sorcerous, Hermetic, Alchemist, Tantric, Witch” how do you view the world of mainstream perfumery? Is there any magic left in the corporate world of scent?
The beautiful thing about scent is that it is linked to our brain and connects to our memory. It is deeply connected to our emotional state and has an impact on our behavior whether we realize it or not. Once we have made a connection with it, scent can instantaneously transport us to times past and give us a feeling of comfort, arousal, love, hate, rage, etc. Scent can have positive effects on our mood, reduce stress, trigger arousal, increase self-confidence and much more. This is truly amazing and I believe that any scent whether hand crafted by a witch or artisan perfumer, or mass-produced in the corporate world, has the ability to effect people and trigger emotion or feelings within.
Rosarium Blends have a terrific selection in their Rosarium Blends online shop<<JUMP
Thank you so much, Catamara, for taking the time to enlighten us here at APJ. I am looking forward to reviewing your fragrances in a future post.
*All pictures donated by Rosarium Blends