“What I want to know,” I said, pouring out the chocolate, “is who in bloody hell is La Dame Blanche?”
“La Dame Blanche?” Magnus, leaning over my shoulder with a basket of hot bread, started so abruptly that one of the rolls fell out of the basket. I fielded it neatly and turned round to look up at the butler, who was looking rather shaken.
“Yes, that’s right,” I said. “You’ve heard the name, Magnus?”
“Why, yes, milady,” the old man answered. “La Dame Blanche is une sorcière.”
“A sorceress?” I said incredulously.
Magnus shrugged, tucking in the napkin around the rolls with excessive care, not looking at me.
“The White Lady,” he murmured. “She is called a wisewoman, a healer. And yet … she sees to the center of a man, and can turn his soul to ashes, if evil be found there.” He bobbed his head, turned, and shuffled off hastily in the direction of the kitchen.
I saw his elbow bob, and realized that he was crossing himself as he went.
“Jesus H. Christ,” I said, turning back to Jamie. “Did you ever hear of La Dame Blanche?”
“Um? Oh? Oh, aye, I’ve … heard the stories.”
Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Dragonfly in Amber.”
Oh there you are.....won't you come gather around this friendly balefire? Don’t the flames smell absolutely wonderful, burning brightly with the woods of apple, oak and ash and scented with fresh branches of lavender , wild sage and rosemary? It’s a beautiful evening , cool and crisp and I’ve laid bales of fragrant fresh hay all around where we can sit. The waxing crescent moon is hanging by a silvery thread in the sky and the woods are quiet, except for the disconcerting sense that we are not alone. I’ve brought homemade ale which is laced with nutmeg , fresh honey and apples. The porcelain tureen is filled with steaming hot pumpkin soup, laced with curry and cumin and the last of the season’s sweet corn is roasting by the edges of the fire waiting to be drenched in the melted butter that has been laced with the disarmingly feral flavor of black truffles and sea salt.
The winds are stirring tonight and if you listen carefully they will tell you anything that you need to know. Take a deep breath, notice the smells that come to you. Yes, we are in the deep woods and there are the familiar sounds of animals curling in the brush and the smells of wet leaves, rutting deer and apples . The animal that is me is also aware of fragrances that don’t belong. Sweet smells that I don’t recognize, strange skin scents and pungent , decaying smells that make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck . An owl flies past silently as they are prone to do, wings strong and the shriek of it’s prey breaks the still night. It is all part of the great dance among the strands of the web of Wrydd. You may be afraid...but you also know that you are very much alive...
Tonight is Samhain and the veil between the worlds is so very thin. It’s true, you are closer to the dead tonight than any other time of the year. Dead ancestors, dead dreams, I know that for many the mysterious end to that which we call life is truly frightening, but I’ve always thought the latter to be much scarier. My mother whose memory I always honor on this night used to tell me that those who are afraid to die are instead truly terrified to live. I remember once kissing a man and knowing immediately that his soul was dead. His cruel lips pulled the air from my lungs, his fairly vampiric essence flooded my veins and in that instant I knew. I ran away fast, scared for my very life. There is no smell on earth more putrid than the scent of the living dead. It’s not a scent I’ve ever forgotten. Sometimes by the time you’ve figured it out it’s too late. Sometimes you have to die a bit yourself before you learn the lesson...but enough of that...I've moved on.
Samhain is a special time for me....it’s the time of year that I simply stop to remember everything and especially in this year which has been filled with unexpectedly strange endings and even stranger beginnings, I feel the need for pause. Samhain or as you’ll know it , “Halloween”, is the Wiccan New Year and I am I suppose one of the white ladies, make no mistake, I really do believe in magic. Samhain is my time for deep reflection and divination, the time to honor endings and a time for us all to cast powerful new dreams. Tonight let's look to the night sky to dream of peace and a prosperous world. Our creed is to harm none, we are the keepers of the earths secrets. For years we’ve been the healers, the herbalists and the perfumers who walk unnoticed among you. We tend the gardens. We mix the potions that make life just a bit more interesting. We heal the sick. For centuries we’ve lived cloaked in secrecy, afraid to be known, our natural powers misunderstood, by those who sought to destroy us.
Please don’t be afraid and instead fill yourself full with the knowing that there is no magic without love. We are all capable of bewitching, some of us just come by it a bit more naturally then others. The very nature of magic is enchanting. The true nature of enchantment is sweet sweet fun. Yes....we witches are mischievous, but it’s born from a deep need to celebrate life and all of its twists and turns. This is the one time of year when the beginning and end of the wheel of life meet, so you can hardly blame us for wanting to have a bit of fun! We love to dress up and I for one cannot resist a flowing cape of any kind. I use my glamoury to cast a spell of seduction and power or sometimes to be invisible. I adore talismans of all kinds, crystals and gems and I stuff my pockets with acorns and pennies, rocks and feathers that I cannot resist picking up for unexplained reasons. I have an almost unnatural and obsessive love of cats and horses.
Believe me....there is a little witch in every woman. I believe that there’s a little witch in every man too, because I’m married to one. I found the only man in the world that I couldn’t control and then I married him. He enchanted me the instant I saw him, I’ve been incredibly spellbound by him for almost 30 years. He lets me tempt him over and over again with the most delightfully fragrant potions, he in turn makes me to believe that I am the most beautiful woman alive. By now all of you know just how much I love perfume and I use it abundantly like most of us do, to bring about a mood, to cast a spell, to enchant, to allure, to weave a story. Tonight is a special night. Under the luminous harvest moon, I crafted a tinctured spell of aged whiskey, cherries, vanilla, cinnamon, blackstrap, horsehair, leather and precious amber, along with a packet of precious sapphire to send off to another of the white ladies, a gossamer Greenwitch who lives nestled in the soft western hills of the new world, my darling and delightful Roxana .
The beautiful and feylike Roxana works her magick by using botanical scents and waxes in the oldest way...the original way. Roxana makes her glorious perfumes the way that they were originally crafted with exotic botanicals, homemade accords and tinctures. She has hives of wild honeybees that are completely under her spell so that she always has plenty of beeswax and honey to infuse her beautiful scents. She works day after day in her beautiful apothecary and weaves her scented magick, enticing us all with perfumed spells of love, passion and healing. Together we are making a magickal new perfume, a scent that transcends the veils of time. It's a perfume born from the love of a story or more aptly stated...a perfume inspired by a enduring 18th century Scottish love story. The tincture is a small yet important part of it's powerful spell.
Equally as important is the adamant... a rare and beautiful black diamond from my past whose energy I am blessed to be able to channel at will. I have infused its energy into this luscious perfume that you are about to experience. Roxana and I were planning the ritual for today, but of course these things just cannot be controlled. I awoke in the early morning, my body alive with a spectral energy. My head was literally spinning and then I realized that I was experiencing the phenomenon of astral projection. I discovered quickly that I was in Roxana's apothecary and the only thing that I can say is that I was surrounded by a swirling scent of sticky sweet rose and jasmine...a fragrance so floral and indolic that I can only describe it as a combination of passion, sweetness and pure joy. I lay there for at least 2 hours, pulsing with the energy of the adamant, infusing its richness into the perfume that you are about to enjoy. A natural black diamond of any size is an extraordinary and very rare gemstone. You will love its energy and feel it immediately.
I have only been gifted to see one of them in my entire life. It was owned by the estate of a great lakes shipping magnate and it was brought to me for appraisal. It was one of the most amazing gemstones that I'd ever experienced and we became fast friends. Many carats in size, it was virtually inert. It was unhappy...it had spent the last century in a safety deposit box unseen and unappreciated. I spent days getting to know it...I took it outside into the sun and was it with the water from artesian spring on my farm. I'll never forget when on the third day a very strange and unbexpected thing happened. The diamond literally began to pulse ...it began to come alive. A natural black diamond does not have the same flashes of light that an included white stone has, but it does have a brilliantly mirrored surface. Suddenly, we could see deep flashes that I would describe as almost red and it's surface began to dance with light play. I wished that I could have owned it, but it was worth tens of thousands of dollars. I guess that you can't really ever own such a thing....it owns you, as I have discovered many times since.
Trust me....this is a perfect fragrance for an evening such as this one where we are playing with all of our senses. This is a perfect fragrance for an evening where you might find yourself surrounded by all kinds of things that go bump in the night and make absolutely no sense at all. This is a perfect fragrance to wear when you are falling into love....or literally falling though time into the arms of a kilted stranger. I can't tell you what will happen, but trust me...you'll have no choice but to follow wherever it leads you.
Here is your first peek!
Yes, sometimes I think that people are afraid of witches simply because our very nature is bestial, feral and earthy. No, I will not steal your husband or seduce your son. Be warned though , I am a flirt. Not even you are safe from me.
I just can’t help myself, I love to tease and provoke using passion as my wand and lust as my muse. Dinna be afraid....just because I can read your soul doesn't mean that I will tell you who you are...that's yours to discover, in your own time. I don’t mean you any harm and my wish for you is unbridled passion and joy. Magic for me is happiness, playfulness and tenderness. It’s about knowing that there are some things that you can control and many things that you can’t. It’s about acceptance and taking care of others as you would want to be cared for yourself. It’s about living powerfully within the world , not being afraid to see all that the world has to offer. It’s about being at peace with the duelistic nature of creativity and destruction. It’s about creating your own reality, not waiting for it or someone else to create you, whatever century you find yourself in.
So dance with me for a bit, come find your inner witch. For you I’ve brought a copper mug filled with my favorite brew. Be careful, because it’s very very hot. It’s made from steaming milk and fragrant dark chocolate, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, a touch of vanilla for passion and a lusty shot of whiskey to help you see through the veils of time. I think that you're going to need it.
Sip it slowly , savor it’s smoky aroma and tell me, What magick would you like to create for yourself in this new year?
Then flying lightly on the wings of that Samhain wish, head over to Roxana's Illuminated Journal where you will soon hear the story of the creation of La Dame Blanche.
If you'd like to win one of three samples of our new and utterly gorgeous Outlander inspired perfume, La Dame Blanche, please leave your name and email in the comments section of this blog post. On Monday evening I will put all of the names into a random internet drawing and you will be notified by email on Tuesday!
The pictures used here do not belong to me. With the exception of the photograph from Roxana, their origins are unknown.