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The Ceremony
Dia de Muertos, November 2

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

In her Coming to My Senses, a memoir published some years ago, the author relates her personal experience of perfume. Curiously, the book devotes a full chapter to the depiction of a certain mysterious figure, who presided over an elaborate investigation into plant extracts. She referred to this unnamed character as "the Curator." It happens that this enigmatic individual, the Curator himself, is a longtime resident of our San Miguel de Allende, one Aaron Reisfield, who is himself an author of a series of books regarding plant perfumes.

This magazine was among the first to endorse A.S. Reisfield's The Perfume of Life trilogy. It didn't matter that the spare plot was hard to track and the text challenging to read cover to cover. I recognized straightaway that the groundbreaking books deserve to be considered by those who hold the Natural World in high regard. Aside from the unprecedented manner of depicting essential oils, I came to understand that, more than anything, A.S. Reisfield had put forward a radically original argument in defense of Living Nature.

A few years later, Aaron endeavored to resurrect his program of outreach in San Miguel with a series of master classes in essential oil studies he titled Avant Garde Aromatica. These sessions were based on his conviction that the medium of perfume is unmatched in its capacity to convey information and insights relating to Life. The subjects included absinthe, coffee, wine, aromatic resins, and various unusual volatile plant oils.

More recently, I interviewed the author of The Perfume of Life for a feature in this magazine titled Aaron's Garden. My intention was to publicize the particular mastery of this local, not widely known iconoclast. When I published the article, Aaron had no local outreach event to promote, however, he gave me notice that something special was in the works. Now, I'm pleased to announce that A.S. Reisfield is delivering on his promise, with details of an extraordinary observance. Following is the communication he sent me.


Español abajo

The Dia De Muertos Hydrodistillation Ceremony:
Plant Perfume Ciphers And Testimony

Announcing the new season of Avant Garde Aromatica, the outreach arm of The Perfume of Life series of books. If you've ever had as much as a fleeting thought that there are lessons to be learned through the study of nature, then you owe it to yourself to act upon this intuition and try to reserve a place at The Ceremony, where tangles of evolutionary encryption are scheduled for unraveling.

Learn What Plants Are Trying To Tell You

This is scheduled to be a Plant Perfume Masterclass beyond compare. We'll be distilling cempazuchitl, the blossoms of Tagetes erecta. The ceremonial instruction will feature a spellbinding method of hydrodistillation, never previously witnessed in Mexico. Participants will receive step-by-step guidance on how to interpret the fragrant messages from plants, and most notably our subject marigold flowers. Moreover, the cultural meaning and lore of the Day of the Dead will introduce yet more substance and intrigue to the observance.

Participants Can Expect To Be Gifted With Take-Home Favors Of Deep Meaning.

The Time: sunset, Dia de Muertos, November 2.

Where: Colonia Ojo de Agua. Upon reserving a place, you'll receive details about getting to the location. Feel free to bring libations to share with other participants.

To Reserve Your Place: please purchase one of the volumes of the series, The Perfume of Life trilogy, in either of the following two ways: 1) send a message to to arrange for local book delivery and your cash payment of $280 pesos, or 2) pay $15.00 USD to via US Paypal, then pick up your book at The Ceremony.

Considering that purchasing a book is the cost of admission, I have appended here a few book reviews:


"The author of The Perfume of Life has poured his love for the natural world and especially its fragrances and living emanations into something that has never been done before. He has created a literary work of art that sings the praise of essential oils and all aromatic extracts, turning the jargon of chemistry and the language of biology into poetry and prose. The Perfume of Life offers a lyrical opening into the universe of terpenoids and secondary metabolites that flows through the reader like a fragrant dream. The Perfume of Life, by A.S. Reisfield, is a three volume novel and study guide for everyone who cherishes essential oils and aromatherapy."

Kurt Schnaubelt, the founder and scientific director of Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, is the author of Advanced Aromatherapy, Medical Aromatherapy, The Chemistry of Essential Oils, The Biology of Essential Oils, and The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils.


"The Perfume of Life constitutes the most complete study manual in existence for perfumery students. It contains a multitude of secrets about the nature of scent. The trilogy is a beautiful, fun, creative set of books, which clearly describe the current situation of perfumery on a global scale. And even with eloquent poetry of scent chemistry woven throughout, it does not exclude the deeper cultural and corporate problems that abound in the field of synthetic perfumery. Not just a set of books, it is a series of written art pieces revealing the hidden world of scent, that which we have lost and had stolen. It has a skeleton of strong research, a foundation of facts under the dance of language. This is an aromatic true-life drama like no other. IF I HAD TO PICK ONE BOOK FROM WHICH TO LEARN ABOUT AROMATICS, I WOULD CHOOSE FROM THE PERFUME OF LIFE TRILOGY."

Jessica Ring, proprietor of Ring Botanicals, is an author, teacher, farmer, artisan distiller, and natural perfumer.


"Taking command of the English language as none other—with a breathtaking vocabulary and singular style of constant play and dead seriousness—A.S. REISFIELD IN THE PERFUME OF LIFE HAS CREATED A RADICALLY NEW KIND OF NATURE WRITING. Seeing the natural world from the least expected angle—that of ephemeral scent—he builds a case for the fathomless complexity, glory, and vulnerability of life on Earth. Polemic, science, story, and language here join in a compelling manifesto."

​Suzanne Noguere, author of Whirling Round the Sun, is an acclaimed poet whose work has appeared in many journals and anthologies.

Ceremonia de hidrodestilación del Día de Muertos:
Cifrados y testimonios de perfumes vegetales

Anunciamos la nueva temporada de Avant Garde Aromatica, la sección de divulgación de la serie de libros El perfume de la vida.
Si alguna vez ha transitado en ti el pensamiento sobre algunas de las lecciones a aprender a través del estudio de la naturaleza, entonces podrías actuar de acuerdo a esa intuición y regalarte a ti mism@ una reserva para esta ceremonia, donde los embrollos de la codificación evolutiva están convocados para ser descifrados.


Esto está programado para ser una clase magistral de aromas de plantas incomparable. Destilaremos cempazuchitl, las flores de Tagetes erecta. La instrucción ceremonial contará con un método fascinante de hidrodestilación, nunca antes visto en México. Los participantes recibirán orientación paso a paso sobre cómo interpretar los mensajes fragantes de las plantas y, en particular, nuestras flores de cempazúchitl. Además, el significado cultural y la tradición del Día de Muertos introducirán todavía más sustancia e intriga a la práctica.


LA HORA: atardecer, Día de Muertos, 2 de noviembre
DÓNDE: Colonia Ojo de Agua. San miguel de Allende, Gto.
Al reservar un lugar, recibirás detalles sobre cómo llegar a la ubicación.

No dude en traer libaciones (bebidas, ofrendas) para compartir con otros participantes.

PARA RESERVAR SU LUGAR: compre uno de los volúmenes de la serie, la trilogía El Perfume de la Vida, de A S. Reisfield, de cualquiera de las siguientes dos formas:
1) envíe un mensaje a para coordinar la entrega local del libro y su pago en efectivo de $ 280 pesos, o
2) pague $ 15.00 USD a a través de US Paypal, luego recoja su libro el día de La ceremonia.


Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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