To commemorate the release of Sarah Elizabeth’s new book, The Art of the Occult, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has “invited her to collaborate on a collection of art/scent pairings intended to serve as access points to occult inspiration, accompanied by short notes from S. Elizabeth explaining why she returns to gaze at these works again and again”.
These five scents are available now at BlackPhoenixAlchemyLab.com
The Witch/Strega, Angelo Caroselli, 17th Century
“Look at this witch’s face! You know she’s going to be a cutting-clever one, uttering snarky-sneaky observations that make you both gasp and splutter with repressed laughter about mutuals you can’t stand. I want to be her Facebook friend. She’d be a scream in a Netflix watch party.”
Leatherbound tomes and rose cream, flickering flames of twin ambers, and a cascade of shadows: black oud, teakwood, black beeswax, 13-year aged patchouli, cinnabar, balsam, sweet labdanum, tonka bean, and smoke.
The Wish, Theodor Von Holst, 1840
“I’ve always wanted to know what wishes are longed for in the dark-eyed gaze of this intense young woman. Myself, I simply wish to rifle through the box of baubles and jewels in the bottom right of the canvas. Maybe help myself to that pearl-tipped hat-pin.”
An incense of candied smoked fruits, Oman frankincense, red oud, labdanum absolute, sheer vanilla, patchouli, red musk seed, osmanthus, and datura accord.
The Choirs of Angels, Hildegard von Bingen 1151-1152
“I always thought these holy mandalas looked a little bit like saintly Spirographs. Also: can you imagine peeking into the inner sanctum of a superfluity of mysterious nuns and discovering them lounging around, playing with Spirographs and Fashion Plates and LightBrite toys?”
A radiant blend of three frankincense oils, white bergamot, crystallized cistus, lavender, angelica root, and fiery neroli.
Circe Invidiosa, John William Waterhouse. 1892
“The colors in this painting are so lush and beautiful that they defy description. I have always thought that tipping dish of poison, the shade of crushed emeralds and mantis wings, must be the precise color of our heart’s blood when we are in the venomous throes of enraged, envious desire.”
Salt-spray dotting an azure cove, its waters swirling with noxious poisons and venom drawn from dreadful roots: a cascade of blackcurrant and crystalline blue-green waters infused with theriac accord, bruised henbane accord, white gardenia, pear, cedarwood, emerald mosses, tuberose, and bitter almond.
Altarpiece – No 1 – Group X. Hilma af Klint 1907
“I was privileged to visit the ‘Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future’ exhibit when it was at the Guggenheim in 2019. The scale and scope of some of these visionary works were of such a breathtaking nature that I grew faint and strange; I thought (hoped, even!) I might be experiencing an art attack, a psychosomatic episode, a soupçon of Stendahl Syndrome. What made the afternoon complete was when my boyfriend’s mother wandered into the Mapplethorpe exhibit and was a bit scandalized. not having any familiarity or context before doing so. All kinds of feels on this day!”
A prism of sacred frankincense refracting a golden amber light into a spectrum of daemonorops draco, King mandarin, golden oud, verdant moss, blue tansy, indigo vegetal musk, and wild plum.