The Green Knight

Origin Story

The Green Knight is my latest perfume, very conceptual, full of meaning and includes a ritual to provide an experience along with the scent. I am a multi-disciplinary artist, interested in much more than creating "pretty" perfumes, this is what gives my work authenticity and keeps me grounded in my souls purpose of perennial creativity.

The fragrance is based on the late 14th century poem, the Green Knight, representing the challenger on the seeker’s path. The quest refers specifically to the ultimate task—facing mortal death by beheading, thereby granting us the opportunity to re-embody our self literally. The symbol of rebirth is clear, as we re-animate ourself, this time by connecting our heart with the head, re-membering that our bodies are light, and we are immortal.

For the main theme of the fragrance component I started with evergreen trees, a nod to the heavily wooded forest where our knight makes his home. The term evergreen is a reference to perennially green trees that retain their leaves throughout the year. Trees surviving in the coldest of winters have been revered by our ancestors who honored the earth and decorated their homes and/or temples with boughs of evergreen trees. The ever-greening represented magical powers during a time when all other plant life died or hibernated—hence the evergreens are a symbol for the immortality.

The tree in Celtic wisdom is viewed as a vertical, center pole, uniting the heavens above with the earth. In perfume, trees are bountiful in how many essences they offer us, from the outer and inner wood, branches, resins/saps, leaves, flowers and fruit.

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort
to speak to the listening heaven.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore


 

The epic, medieval poem, where the mythological character of the Green Knight has garnered fame is titled Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which was recently made into a rich and equally epic film by David Lowery.

 


Most of the tales portray the Green Knight as a large man, clothed in green and holding an axe, he is often somber, serious and terrifying with an air of mystery. I experience him as is a great giant with shining armor, a descendent of the pagan Green Man, symbolizing the wild magic of nature, filled with chaos and rebirth.

There is some speculation that the Green Man & the Green Knight are one and the same. From my observations, the Green Man is associated with Spring and often contains imagery of oak and/or ivy leaves. The Green Knight arrives on Christmas day, or thereabouts, specifically in the dead of winter. Energetically the two feel different, as stated by Carl Crossgrove "One is more of a silent, constant presence. The other confronts you and is tied to a moment."

My introduction to the concept of the Green Knight was in the mid nineties participating as an initiate in a group practicing the path of presence with Kaitryne Durham in Los Angeles. (read about it at the journal) It was during the third year of our monthly gatherings that Kaitryne used The Arthurian Tarot during our sessions and introduced us to this pagan archetype as part of "Living life fully while facing death." 

We were asked to journey to the Green Wood and face the challenge of the Green Knight by offering our head to his axe, having the courage to undergo the shaman's death, and be reborn a new.

Since then, almost thirty years now, the Green Knight has appeared in my consciousness now and again, but it was the recent film that reminded me of the work I had done with Kaitryne and inspired the ritual box.

According to the "Hallowquest" handbook that accompanies The Arthurian Tarot by Caitlin and John Matthews, the archetypal meaning of the Green Knight is that he "...represents the challenger whom all seekers meet on their quest. He answers questions and gives advice, but he also sets riddles and puzzles. Those who think that they know everything he leads astray and torments. His greatest desire is to be bested by a worthy opponent."


The Perfume

The notes of the fragrance contain deep forest greens, woods and a hint of moss to evoke him and the magical woodland where he dwells. The fragrance family lies somewhere between a Fougère and a Chypre.

The synergy created for the solid and the perfume spray is the same, however the notes express themselves differently based on the carrier. The opening of the spray has a slightly sharp, crisp quality, like the razors edge of the Green Knights axe. The fresh, green, conifer note mellows into the main theme of wood and resin.

The solid, due to the beeswax and infusions of pinon, basin sage (artemesia) and rosemary, contains a subtle fruit note within the wood and resin theme.

Plant essences are many and include essential oils. co2 extracts and absolutes, here is the complete list:

WOODS

  • Amyris
  • Cabreuva (vintage)
  • Cedar: Himalayan & Virginia
  • Cypress
  • Guaicwood
  • Katafay
  • Palo Santo
  • Pinon
  • Sandalwood

RESINS

  • Copaiba Balsam
  • Galbanum
  • Labdanum
  • Myrrh

LEAVES & TWIGS

  • Eucalyptus
  • Juniper
  • Mastic
  • Owyhee
  • Patchouli
  • Petitgrain
  • Tansy, blue
  • Violet Leaf

ROOTS

  • Calamus
  • Orris
  • Vetiver

OTHERS

  • Bergamot
  • Cepes
  • Mandarin
  • Oakmoss
  • Palmrosa
  • Rose

LABDANUM: Resins harness the elemental fire of the Sun, labdanum beckons us to purify and awaken to our inner light while healing past wounds.

PINON: Rooted in the earth and reaching toward the heavens, the conifers inspire us to do the same, against all odds. Pinon is connected to the pineal gland and thus opens our inner eye to see clearly.

ROSE: A trail of flower petals leading us to an open heart and yin energies.

GALBANUM: A sticky resin that promotes healing and reflection. When on a journey of self discovery, galbanum adds protection while illuminating the path.

ARTEMESIA: A mover of stagnant energy, enhancer of dreams and third eye connector.

When I compose a fragrance the essences are primarily chosen for scent with the aromatherapeutic and energetic component being considered as well. For example, I knew I wanted to convey green, wood and forest as the pillar of the perfume, but I also desired the individual to feel confident (Cedar & Sandalwood), as well as rooted (Vetiver) and with an open heart (Rose). Once I had those as my main building blocks, I began to add other notes for scent.

This fragrance is neither feminine nor masculine, but does have a more yang like quality.

Below are a couple scent impressions by customers, read more at the bottom of the Green Knight Ritual Box listing here.

"I chose the Eau de Parfum, which first awakens the senses with a fresh and bright green zing. Later warm woody amber resins emerge gently mellowing into a smokey moss haven of all things foresty - delicious!" ~ Sarah-Jane

"Profoundly fresh! Strong evergreen with clean citrus, and a clear balance of soft heart-opening florals (rose, neroli). An incredible invitation into the deep woods and the true heart." ~ Jenna


THE RITUAL BOX

This seasonal box set includes:

The Green Knight fragrance: solid, spray or both

A 60 page, 8.15 x 5.12 inch, grey, soft cover, lined journal with a blind embossed graphic created by me, Roxana.

A 4 1/8 x 5 3/4 postcard with an illuminated image by Greg Spalenka on one side and guidance on a ritual on the backside.

AND, Robin Coale, a local shaman here in Santa Fe, provided a recorded session for those who have purchase the box. The live session took place on January 27th and is available and will be sent along via email.

Every detail has been designed to impart a transcendent experience of beauty. The inspiration for this ritual box is based on a poem from the Arthurian legend about the Green Knight.

The Artwork

The image of the Green Knight was created by the illuminator of our perfumes, Greg Spalenka. Here is what he has to say:

"I see the Green Knight as the ultimate symbol of death and rebirth. This icon of lore invites us to receive death not in fear, but in triumph. By accepting the Green Knight’s challenge we accept the challenge of meeting our karma unflinching and with courage. We are confident of the eternal quest within us to flourish, lifetime to lifetime, as all great sages and saints have reminded us throughout the centuries.

The art represents the challenge in the steadfast Green Knight’s beckoning hand, and axe held strong in the other hand. His face is handsome, strong yet calm, non threatening. The armor feels impenetrable (spirit), yet is connected organically to the land with roots growing out of his legs, symbolically representing the physicality of the reality we live in. The saplings shooting out
of the armor evoke life’s potential. Around the Knight is ethereal nature, magical, dreamlike, with a lone stag awake and ready to greet the wilds of the world.

Accept the challenge that life presents, and the life beyond this life. The Green Knight reminds us that we must not to fear the unknown, for we are immortal.

Get you box here


IMAGES: The Green Knight ©Greg Spalenka, perfume photos ©Roxana Villa, please respect our copyright.