To follow on from Vanessa Gruninger's post on how to use our Cleansing oil #5, Michelle Porter discusses Revisiting the Feminine Divine - thanks Michelle, it's a beautiful piece...
Naked you are tiny as one of your nails;
Curved, subtle, rosy, till the day is born
And you withdraw to the underground world.
As if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores;
Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,
And becomes a naked hand again.
Pablo Neruda - Extract from 'Morning'
Last week I was sent a plain, black box wrapped in tissue- just for me, all for myself. Inside were simple, perfectly placed vials and objects, a kit to cleanse and replenish my tired skin. I'd won the prize from A.S APOTHECARY, for my honest but sad response that I deserved to win because I did not own one skincare item. And so here in front of me was a box of alchemical tools, a little way of reconnecting with the feminine divine: mineral powder, cleansing oil, geranium cleansing water, a tiny spoon and a miniature bowl resembling a clear, bright moon.
My first experience of the feminine divine, the pursuit of glamour and self-indulgence came about in a concession in Kensington Market, West London. Thunderpussy, a purveyor of gothic opulence, giant glass cocktail rings and crushed velvet fanny pelmets in rich, jewelled tones. I was visually entranced but what has never left me is the smell of Nag Champa that perfumed the entire place, it was as though I had entered a temple and in some ways I had. The altar of the feminine divine where a woman feels like a woman and treats herself accordingly. At this altar we anoint ourselves with perfume, cleanse impurities from our skin and nourish ourselves with treats and adornments.
Like everything, the moon of the feminine divine changes phase. Other priorities leave little time for worship and in my case offspring demand much care, lots of attention. Gradually the perfume bottles dry up, tubes of unguents are squeezed clean and are never replaced. Time is short, money is spent elsewhere and my beauty routine is reduced to cold water and a rough towel. And so this is how I came to owning not one tube, tub or sachet of skin care product. And how I came to be opening an A.S Apothecary Complete Box of Cleansing.
I keep my magical box under the sink, hidden away from the tiny hands of Pearl Rose who is curious about its contents - contents that will not be shared. I lock the bathroom door and bring it out as I draw a bath and unpack the kit. It's a little ritual, a small offering to myself, a banishment of chores, a little abandonment. I try to remember myself and my clear bright light as I stroke the Geranium paste onto my face. The smell of Geranium is decadent and soothing all at once, like pressing your face into a ripe, blousy rose. Perhaps I have opened a Pandora's box, a little rediscovery of the feminine divine, of treating myself in small and simple ways.
Tomorrow I'm going to buy some Nagchampa incense, the crushed velvet fanny pelmets may have had their day, but I'm still feminine and my skin is starting to feel a little bit divine. What madness will follow, Moisturiser? You bet, I'm on a roll and it feels VERY good.
- Michelle Porter
Porter's Bespoke and femmeandgrist.blogspot.com, "a literary mother & publlshed author. Now running in heels after kids with scissors Blog described as 'true grit' M Attwood."