The Fool

When I was 16, I decided to drop maths and take up the French intensive course in year 11 and 12 at high school. I was so numeric-dyslexic that Mrs Shustov and the whole maths department breathed a huge sigh of relief just to wave me goodbye.

My French teacher was a middle-aged Estonian woman with a very long side-plait, and dark yellow-tinted horn-rimmed glasses. She only ever wore ski pants to school, and on cold days she carried a fur muff to keep her hands warm. She was such a heavy chain-smoker, she had to duck out of the classroom several times in a lesson to top up her nicotine levels – but hearing her speak French in that gravelly voice was perfection.

I was the only student in her class, and it was a very weird and lonely encounter with the French language. Whenever she ducked back in to check on my grammar, she smelled like an ashtray from the men’s bar of an inner city boozer, circa 1945.

Being the only student in the class, I came first!! And consequently I was awarded a prize. A book prize. The school packed me off to Angus & Robertson with a book voucher and instructions to bring in my selection so the principal could hand it back to me in the usual tedious assembly format that the school deployed for awarding the nerds with their books.

So, I wandered all around the bookshop and quickly realised that all the cool books were way outside my voucher’s reach. There was nothing cheap in there that I wanted. It seemed so dumb to buy a book that may as well just go straight to landfill. I looked and looked and looked. Kid’s books, grimy fiction, bodice-rippers, sporting magazines, crossword puzzles, sigh…

And then I spied with my evil eye, a pack of cards. Tarot cards. French tarot cards. $24.95. Perfect. I didn’t know anything about the tarot, but the images were so fascinating. Was it a game? Was is something woo-woo and spooky? I didn’t know but it was so ‘right’ and I bought them with my voucher. Problem solved!

… until the school admin lady behind the counter totally freaked out.

‘No… you cannot be awarded a set of French tarot cards for taking out the prize for coming first in French. Not on my watch. Es-tu fou? Take them back immediately’ she glared, with that death-stare of utter disdain that only really emanates authentically from school admin ladies (or their beloved Mother Superior, the Hon Julie Bishop).

But by now, the cards had suddenly captured my whole imagination. I was a teenager, and I wanted them and the school could take a flying leap. So I went home and scanned all the books on our family book-shelf for the least worn picture book about anything bland. An unread gift to my dad on ‘Sailing and Yachts’ looked exactly right. My dad’s a landlubber, so the book was in very good nick.

The principal smiled as he shook my hand and gifted me with a handsome coffee-table tome on boats (yawn), and by now, I was in deep with the archetypes and trying to follow what Jung had to say, and reading about arcane mysticism and symbolism and I caught buses to the city so I could hang around the Adyar bookshop and poke my nose in the theosophical society meetings at Glebe. There was no internet then, so my sudden interest in exotic forms of Eastern and Western philosophy was forged on real books and ferry trips across the harbour and an open mind – hungry for contact with other kooks like me.

pacha-mama-createsThe tarot is all about the Fool’s journey. The fool sets forth to discover the world and on the road, meets with a host of characters, some that give and some that take. Angels, Heroes, Heroines, Rascals, Villains, Lovers, Wise-guys, Witches, Wizards, Used Car Salesmen, Lawyers, Shrews… the whole kit and caboodle.

In order to succeed or even survive in her mysterious quest, the Fool must pay full attention. If she doesn’t pay full attention, she pays with pain.

I don’t use tarot as a tool for divination, I use it as a mirror for meditation, for inner reflection, for stepping back from the chaos of the daily grind, to read the symbols, learn from the archetypes, consider how to proceed and which path leads to the source. Water, food, shelter, warmth, love and compassion is the source.

Each of my fragrances is devoted to an archetype. If this aspect of the fragrances interests you. let me know and I’m happy to shed light on the inner worlds of the scented archetypes. It’s actually a really beautiful resource to help you make your scented way through the dark valleys of life’s challenging shadows, back out into the light.

TRNP Hitimai

8 thoughts on “The Fool

    • Quintessentially, this fragrance is the perfume of the Dark Horse. Mistress/Master of perfection, yet one who eschews the more typical pathways in life especially those that follow the rules of social expectations. Botticelli chooses a very different and far-less-traveled path to explore and express the ideas and talents that lie within. Botticelli (the artist) was considered an outsider. He rejected the popular trends of the Quattrocentro and forged his own reputation based on his solid technical training and creative commitment to his own style as an artist. This theme of self-determination is the essence of the fragrance. It holds true to its own style, and does not seek to be like others. It conveys strength and beauty non-typically, and consistently remains true unto itself. The Birth of Venus is a great image to imagine when applying the scent.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Batavia is all about bravery – the Dutch courage of adventurers. In my mind, when I was composing this fragrance I imagined Jakarta in the late 1600s and early 1700s. I believed it must have been an incredible world so totally different to anything the Dutch could have imagined:- its Culture, People, Religion, Landscape, Climate, Architecture, Language, all of it Customs. And conversely, the Dutch brought such a two-edged sword of change to Indonesia. Devastating pain and yet also progress and prosperity. All about the spice. Spice was the most valuable commodity in the world, a global currency that drove people to extraordinary acts.

      Batavia perfume is the rare and precious essence that lies deeply within the self. The uniquely beautiful soul gifts that can make or break a person. ‘That which is inside of us, if brought forth, will save us. That which is inside of use, if not brought forth, will destroy us’. St John, Gnostic gospels. This is the spice.

      Spice of Life is samsara – or the journal of writing inscribed upon the soul of adventurers, pirates, lovers, winners and losers. At times it drives us mad, and yet we also hunger for it. Without the spice, our lives are bland, flavourless, sexless, empty and … yet tranquil.

      We find ourselves hungering for more.

      Batavia perfume is the spirit of that hunger, it entices, invites, inspires and even infects the imagination with the fever of (re)kindling big dreams into action.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. I just want the ‘book’. But in the meantime – Rococo original? AND one I was recently slain by and don’t understand why the name of = Mary Jane?

    Loved reading this, and being a maths ‘non’ it cracked some laughs of recognition, but one can see the budding sorcerer’s apprentice liberating the world from consumed ashtrays and associated asphyxiation. Your paintings also remind me of tarot pictures, now I know why.
    Have you designed a deck of your own?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rococo is the avant garde thinker with money. Fascinated by all things ancient and crumbling, this character loves nothing better than organising lamp-lit poetry recitals inside the King’s chamber of the great pyramid on auspicious occasions. The life of the party within his/her coterie of like-minded pals. Casually wears priceless relics and treasures everywhere, Rococo understands life through the prismatic kaleidoscope of myriad spiritual doctrines and old wives’ tales. Suffers from overload, migraine headaches etc yet cannot sit still. A dreamer with the means to shape the world on all kinds of levels. Pre-twitter. All sexy tidbits and gossip and hearsay and rumour and state-secrets flow through the lips and ears of Rococo before they reach the Queen. A great friend and advisor, a true ally and yet, a deadly foe. Style personified effortlesssly.

      The carrier oil for Mary Jane oil parfum is cold-pressed organic hemp oil from the UK. Hence the lovely green colour. I just called it Mary Jane for that reason.

      I’ve often thought about designing a tarot deck, but there are so many – y’know, the Sponge-Bob Square-pants tarot and the Cory Bernardi tarot and I decided not to bother.

      Liked by 2 people

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