Terrible Moon is Terrible!
MOON OF THE TERRIBLE
On New Year’s Day
each thought a loneliness
as winter dusk descends
Desolation at the last moment in the gloaming on New Year’s Day: winter snow with white lavender, benzoin, lychee, white resins, and a cluster of melancholy, lachrymose lunar herbs.
Illustration for Moon of the Terrible by our dear friend, the limitlessly talentedTanya Bjork!
The Moon of the Terrible tee is live at Black Phoenix Trading Post!
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++ 11th ANNIVERSARY
Happy 11th birthday to my oldest child, Black Phoenix!
A million, trillion, thanks and gratitude beyond words to all of our friends and customers that have been with us through the last eleven years. You have extended my family a thousand-fold, and I am grateful for every single one of you. Thank you for sharing your lives with us, thank you for your kindness, your support, and your laughter, and thank you for the joy and pleasure I find in your friendship.
With all of my love…
Thank you, Brian, for being the foundation upon which BPAL stands. BPAL would not exist without your wisdom and good counsel, and every moment of my life is enriched by your friendship. You are the best of friends, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for you, you big lug.
Ted, I love you. You are my soulmate, my light, and my strength. I love you with every part of my soul, and every moment with you - no matter how mundane it may seem - is poetry in my heart.
Thank you, my Lilith, my heart, for being my inspiration. You are my tiny muse, and I love you completely, always and forever.
Thank you, Jacquelynn, for all of your hard work, dedication, and ingenuity. You are amazing beyond words, and I am grateful for you and for everything you do!
Thank you, Lisa, for your wit and wisdom, for your kindness and aid, and for your friendship. You are a saint, and I love you!
Thank you, Piolet, for being an oasis of calm, no matter how crazy things get here! Thank you for your hard work and your strength of character, and thank you for always making me laugh.
Thank you, Will, for your hard work, diligence, and dedication!
Thank you to Sue and Del at Dark Delicacies for everything you do. Thank you for giving a second home to Black Phoenix, and thank you for being the greatest grandparents a little demoness could ask for!
Thank you, Sara, for all the skill, love, joy, and dedication that you invest into every event you help us with! You are a wonderful woman, and I adore you!
Kaitlin, I adore you. You have no idea how truly, truly grateful I am for all of the blood, sweat, and tears that you have invested in working on our new site. You are a beautiful person in every way, in every conceivable sense of the word.
Thank you, Cat, for being the dearest of friends. Thank you for your kind heart, thank you for your compassion, and thank you for always being there for me.
Thank you, Shana, for helping us spread the word! Thank you for your talent, buoyant humor, and infectious enthusiasm! You are a truly good woman, and I’m grateful beyond words. Love you!
Thank you, Forest, for being a true friend. Your noble spirit is an inspiration, and I’m so very thankful for our friendship. I love you, lady!
Thank you to the mods and administrators of bpal.org. I love you guys as much as I love my own blood, and I’m grateful not only for all that you do to run the forum, but for the gift - the blessing - of your friendship. I know you guys know how much I love you, but I’m going to keep repeating it!
Thank you, Em, for always being there to help me with my weird questions and concerns, and for always having my back. I love you.
Thank you to Jen, Lisa, Sue, Greg, Sara, and Tom for making this year’s travelling medicine show possible. Thank you so much for being there for us, and for giving so much of yourselves to the events!
Thank you, Donna, for babysitting BPAL again! You are a lifesaver! I love you!
Thank you, Courtney, for being my New England Sister! Thank you for being such an amazing friend, and thank you for all the passion and love you put into every New England Will Call event!
Huge amounts of love and HUGE amounts of gratitude to Laura Hall and all the wonderful people at Laika studios. Your generosity and kindness is beyond measure.
Thank you to Thomas, Melissa, and Chandra (and Thomas Jr!) at Century Guild. You are wonderful people, and I love you!
Thank you to Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Peter S. Beagle, Terry Pratchett, Terry Moore, Mike and Christine Mignola, George Perez, Peter David, Molly Crabapple, Mark Waid, Thomas Negovan, Storm Constantine, Matt Wagner, Jim Henson Productions, Brian Pulido, Joseph Michael Linsner, Eva Hopkins, Gris Grimly, George RR Martin, Clive Barker, Mark Miller, David Mack, Gail Potocki, Erin Morgenstern, and Ysanne Spevak for giving Black Phoenix the opportunity to interpret your work.
Thank you, Carolyn Hennesy, for being a wonderful friend and a constant joy. Your stories are wonderful and your talent is boundless!
Thank you, Tom, for everything you do to help us while we’re on the road, and thank you for doing all you can to integrate Black Phoenix into your work. I love you, and I’m grateful for our friendship!
Thank you to the noble souls at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Hero Initiative. You are an inspiration.
Thank you, Charles, for being an inspiration and a true friend. When is our next trip to NOLA?!
Much thanks to Peter S. Beagle and Connor Cochran for their friendship. You bring so much joy to so many people!
Love and thanks to the artists that have lent us their talent: Adam Hughes, Alicia Dabney, Julie Dillon, Madame Talbot, Quique Alcatena, Jennifer Rodgers, Manda Lander, Keri Newton, Nick Pavik, Tanya Bjork, Andrew Fogel, Brian Kessinger, Abigail Larson, Aidan Casserly, and Sarah Coleman!
Love and thanks to Century Guild, the Mütter Museum, Heretic Salon, Whole Foods, Pretty Indulgent, Healthy Living, and Dark Delicacies for giving our products a home in your stores!
Love and thanks to the bloggers, journalists, magazines, and other media outlets that taken the time to write about Black Phoenix. Honestly, I cannot thank you enough.
And lastly, I’d like to thank the skekSi’s of Thra for their support, friendship, wise counsel, and fashion tips.
The world is a better place because you all are in it.
What I’ve said before, I’ll say again:
Thank you for sharing our joy and for standing with us during difficult times. The family that has grown around BPAL is like no other in the world. Every time I wander into the forum, I see people supporting one another in times of need, showing selfless kindness and offering support to one anotherâ€¦ to me, you all are models of emotional generosity and true friendship, and it is truly an honor to be a part of your lives. I cannot express my gratitude enough. Thank you for celebrating the beauty of living with us, and for holding our hands during times of stress and sorrow. This year has been turbulent for just about everyone we know. It’s been a hard year filled with challenges and hidden lessons, but none of it is insurmountable because we all have this tremendous, genuinely loving family. Thank you.
And without further ado, the Anniversary scents!
++ DE FENICE
Visions of the Phoenix throughout history.
Fenix Arabie avis dicta quod colorem feniceum
habeat, vel quod sit in toto orbe singularis et
unica. Hec quingentos ultra annos vivens, dum
se viderit senuisse, collectis aromatum virgultis, ro
gum sibi instruit, et conversa ad radium solis alarum
plausu voluntarium sibi incendium nutrit, seque urit.
And he took me and led me where the sun goes forth; and he showed me a chariot and four, under which burnt a fire, and in the chariot was sitting a man, wearing a crown of fire, (and) the chariot (was) drawn by forty angels. And behold a bird circling before the sun, about nine cubits away. And I said to the angel, What is this bird?
And he said to me, This is the guardian of the earth. And I said, Lord, how is he the guardian of the earth? Teach me. And the angel said to me, This bird flies alongside of the sun, and expanding his wings receives its fiery rays. For if he were not receiving them, the human race would not be preserved, nor any other living creature. But God appointed this bird thereto. And he expanded his wings, and I saw on his right wing very large letters, as large as the space of a threshing-floor, the size of about four thousand modii; and the letters were of gold. And the angel said to me, Read them. And I read, and they ran thus: Neither earth nor heaven bring me forth, but wings of fire bring me forth. And I said, Lord, what is this bird, and what is his name? And the angel said to me, His name is called Phoenix. (And I said), And what does he eat ? And he said to me, The manna of heaven and the dew of earth. And I said, Does the bird excrete? And he said to me, He excretes a worm, and the excrement of the worm is cinnamon, which kings and princes use. But wait and thou shalt see the glory of God. And while he was conversing with me, there was as a thunder-clap, and the place was shaken on which we were standing. And I asked the angel, My Lord, what is this sound? And the angel said to me, Even now the angels are opening the three hundred and sixty-five gates of heaven, and the light is being separated from the darkness. And a voice came which said, Light giver, give to the world radiance. And when I heard the noise of the bird, I said, Lord, what is this noise? And he said, This is the bird who awakens from slumber the cocks upon earth. For as men do through the mouth, so also does the cock signify to those in the world, in his own speech. For the sun is made ready by the angels, and the cock crows.
And I said, And where does the sun begin its labours, after the cock crows? And the angel said to me, Listen, Baruch: All things whatsoever I showed thee are in the first and second heaven, and in the third heaven the sun passes through and gives light to the world. But wait, and thou shall see the glory of God. And while I was conversing with him, I saw the bird, and he appeared in front, and grew less and less, and at length returned to his full size. And behind him I saw the shining sun, and the angels which draw it, and a crown upon its head, the sight of which we were not able to gaze upon; and behold. And as soon as the sun shone, the Phoenix also stretched out his wings. But I, when I beheld such great glory, was brought low with great fear, and I fled and hid in the wings of the angel. And the angel said to me, Fear not, Baruch, but wait and thou shalt also see their setting.
And he took me and led me towards the west; and when the time of the setting came, I saw again the bird coming before it, and as soon as he came I saw the angels, and they lifted the crown from its head. But the bird stood exhausted and with wings contracted. And beholding these things, I said, Lord, wherefore did they lift the crown from the head of the sun, and wherefore is the bird so exhausted? And the angel said to me, The crown of the sun, when it has run through the day four angels take it, and bear it up to heaven, and renew it, because it and its rays have been defiled upon earth; moreover it is so renewed each day. And I Baruch said, Lord, and wherefore are its beams defiled upon earth? And the angel said to me, Because it beholds the lawlessness and unrighteousness of men, namely fornications, adulteries, thefts, extortions, idolatries, drunkenness, murders, strife, jealousies, evil-speakings, murmurings, whisperings, divinations, and such like, which are not well-pleasing to God. On account of these things is it defiled, and therefore is it renewed. But thou askest concerning the bird, how it is exhausted. Because by restraining the rays of the sun through the fire and burning heat of the whole day, it is exhausted thereby. For, as we said before, unless his wings were screening the rays of the sun, no living, creature would be preserved.
- Greek Apocalypse of Baruch
Born in radiance, defiled, and resplendently renewed: Atlas cedar, white fig, sugared date, sweet orange, golden honey, white sandalwood, benzoin, galbanum, and bitter almond.
Another living creature we saw,
full wondrous, such as man has never seen;
'twas near in scope to twice the eagle's size,
with plumage iridescent, rainbow-hued.
Its breast appeared deep-dyed with purple’s shade,
its legs were red like ochre, and its neck
was furnished round with tresses saffron-hued;
like a coxcomb did its crest appear,
with amber-tinted eye it gazed about,
the pupil like some pomegranate seed.
Exceeding all, its voice pre-eminent;
of every wing’d thing, the king,
it did appear. For all the birds, as one,
in fear did haste to follow after him,
and he before, like some triumphant bull
went striding forth with rapid step apace.
- Ezekiel the Tragedian, the Exagoge
Its breast appeared deep-dyed with purple’s shade, its legs were red like ochre, and its neck was furnished round with tresses saffron-hued; like a coxcomb did its crest appear, with amber-tinted eye it gazed about, the pupil like some pomegranate seed: wild plum, North African saffron, frankincense, pomegranate, limonite accord, and golden amber.
They have also another sacred bird called the phoenix which I myself have never seen, except in pictures. Indeed it is a great rarity, even in Egypt, only coming there (according to the accounts of the people of Heliopolis) once in five hundred years, when the old phoenix dies. Its size and appearance, if it is like the pictures, are as follow:- The plumage is partly red, partly golden, while the general make and size are almost exactly that of the eagle. They tell a story of what this bird does, which does not seem to me to be credible: that he comes all the way from Arabia, and brings the parent bird, all plastered over with myrrh, to the temple of the Sun, and there buries the body. In order to bring him, they say, he first forms a ball of myrrh as big as he finds that he can carry; then he hollows out the ball, and puts his parent inside, after which he covers over the opening with fresh myrrh, and the ball is then of exactly the same weight as at first; so he brings it to Egypt, plastered over as I have said, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun. Such is the story they tell of the doings of this bird.
- Herodotus, Histories
A fragrant shroud: myrrh from Yemen, Oman, and West Africa with a touch of copal and frankincense.
A chattering crow lives out nine generations of aged men, but a stag’s life is four times a crow’s, and a raven’s life makes three stags old, while the phoenix outlives nine ravens, but we, the rich-haired Nymphs, daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder, outlive ten phoenixes.
- Hesoid, the Precepts of Chiron
Golden amber, bourbon vanilla, and sweet oudh.
There is one bird which reproduces and renews itself: the Assyrians gave this bird his name-the Phoenix. He does not live either on grain or herbs, but only on small drops of frankincense and juices of amomum. When this bird completes a full five centuries of life straightway with talons and with shining beak he builds a nest among palm branches, where they join to form the palm tree’s waving top. As soon as he has strewn in this new nest the cassia bark and ears of sweet spikenard, and some bruised cinnamon with yellow myrrh, he lies down on it and refuses life among those dreamful odors.-And they say that from the body of the dying bird is reproduced a little Phoenix which is destined to live just as many years. When time has given to him sufficient strength and he is able to sustain the weight, he lifts the nest up from the lofty tree and dutifully carries from that place his cradle and the parent’s sepulchre. As soon as he has reached through yielding air the city of Hyperion, he will lay the burden just before the sacred doors within the temple of Hyperion.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses
Fitful dreams of the cradle and sepulchre: honey, cassia bark, sweet spikenard, cinnamon, and yellow myrrh.
The phoenix, of which there is only one in the world, is the size of an eagle. It is gold around the neck, its body is purple, and its tail is blue with some rose-colored feathers. It has a feathered crest on its head. No one has ever seen the Phoenix feeding. In Arabia it is sacred to the sun god. It lives 540 years; when it is old it builds a nest from wild cinnamon and frankincense, fills the nest with scents, and lies down on it until it dies. From the bones and marrow of the dead phoenix there grows a sort of maggot, which grows into a bird the size of a chicken. This bird performs funeral rites for its predecessor, then carries the whole nest to the City of the Sun near Panchaia and places it on an altar there.
- Pliny, Natural History
Wild cinnamon and frankincense.
That it is a creature sacred to the sun, differing from all other birds in its beak and in the tints of its plumage, is held unanimously by those who have described its nature. As to the number of years it lives, there are various accounts. The general tradition says five hundred years. Some maintain that it is seen at intervals of fourteen hundred and sixty-one years, and that the former birds flew into the city called Heliopolis successively in the reigns of Sesostris, Amasis, and Ptolemy, the third king of the Macedonian dynasty, with a multitude of companion birds marvelling at the novelty of the appearance. But all antiquity is of course obscure. From Ptolemy to Tiberius was a period of less than five hundred years. Consequently some have supposed that this was a spurious phoenix, not from the regions of Arabia, and with none of the instincts which ancient tradition has attributed to the bird. For when the number of years is completed and death is near, the phoenix, it is said, builds a nest in the land of its birth and infuses into it a germ of life from which an offspring arises, whose first care, when fledged, is to bury its father. This is not rashly done, but taking up a load of myrrh and having tried its strength by a long flight, as soon as it is equal to the burden and to the journey, it carries its father’s body, bears it to the altar of the Sun, and leaves it to the flames. All this is full of doubt and legendary exaggeration. Still, there is no question that the bird is occasionally seen in Egypt.
- Tacitus, Annals
The Incense of the Altar of the Sun: ambrette seed, olibanum, benzoin, labdanum, galbanum, frankincense, calamus, clove bud, and orange peel.
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In other gnus…
Our west coast full moon event is this Sunday at Dark Delicacies, 4pm til 7pm. We’re hosting our annual food and toy drives at this shindig /and/ at our December will call. Double the freebies and double the aid!
This year’s charity drive scents are inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder —
For every $10 in food that you donate, you will receive a 5ml bottle of
Pear trees, boiled oats, and wine beside a ripe field of wheat waving under a late-summer sun.
For every toy valued at $10 or more that you bring, you will receive a 5ml bottle of
HUNTERS IN THE SNOW
The scent of a calm, grey winter’s day: bare trees and cooking fires, thick blankets of snow, and icy, frozen rivers.
We are offering these oils while supplies last, and cannot guarantee that any Will Call location will be able to fulfill all donation exchanges. We’ll do our best! Food donations made at our Los Angeles will call will support the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, and the toys will be donated to the Los Angeles location will be given to Spark of Love, the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s toy collection campaign.
The west coast will call event will be held on Sunday, November 17th from 4 to 7pm at Dark Delicacies.
3512 W. Magnolia Blvd
(1 block east of Hollywood Way)
Burbank, CA 91505
New England will call will be hosting their food & toy drive at their will call in December!
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Visit the BPAL site on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday…
Make a purchase at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday, and receive a free imp of PROGRESSUS: a blend of Solar oils believed to generate abundance, augment success, and bestow good fortune, including golden amber, honey laurel, heliotrope, saffron, and Atlas cedar.
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Up next, Yuletide and Krampusnacht. Have you been naughty or nice?