Tuesday, May 17, 2011


LOVE ~ By John Lennon

Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved

Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved

Love is you
You and me
Love is knowing
We can be

Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved

As part of Perfume Pharmers SUMMER OF PATCHOULI LOVE 2011 Event, all the participating Perfumer's have been telling their personal "Patchouli Stories." Here's mine as told on PERFUME PHARMER ~


If I had to choose only one word to describe PATCHOULI, it would be "Primal"... To me, it is the Essence of FEELING. I reach for it when I need a little bit of grounding or to comfort and sooth. One whiff and I feel like I just got a big "hug" from the Universe!

The scent of PATCHOULI has intertwined with our human experience throughout the ages, so I’m sure we all know the story by now of how Patchouli traveled the long and arduous road from the East to the West and everywhere in between...

It is certainly a love/hate thing for everyone that I have ever exchanged with on the subject... Not to mention an ultra fun Parlour Game wherein you gather a group and have everybody tell their "Personal Patchouli Story!" Be sure, Everybody has one...

Mine goes back to 1970 when I was around 4 years old. It was a hot Summer day in LA, and as fate would have it, my young bohemian self came to be at the Janov Institute for Primal Scream Therapy.

I remember it like it was a dream... I came into the waiting room and a very emotional John Lennon was there, winding down from a Primal "Session" with my father who was his therapist. To me he was all hair and looked like Jesus in his long white robe. Oh, and Smelly! It was a strangely familiar "Earthy" aroma that emanated from him, and I remember that this manly, almost animalic scent was so strong that it filled the entire room space!

When he saw me he beckoned me over to say hello... I imagine now, that from his spent primal self he must have felt a connection to something in my innocent child-self-mind-space that drew his attention to my corner at that particular moment... And so, there he was calling to me, wanting to engulf me in a warmly abundant hug, and as you can imagine the last thing I wanted was a hug from a smelly (you guessed it - PATCHOULI) Primal Screamer!...

Not one to be deterred, this industrious Patchouli Loving Jesus Christ Superstar proceeded to lure me over to his corner with a handful of Chiclets!... Yes, that's right, I have always been a sucker for the simple pleasures and those CHICKLETS did the trick! Yep, those pretty little candy gems were even more fun than I first imagined they would be, as I learned about gum and how to "chew" these tiny colorful treats instead of swallowing them whole... It was like a magic trick! And for a short while, this became a tradition with us - the "Jesus Man" would greet me with Chiclets, and I would give him big a hug... It turned out to be one of the few perfectly reciprocal relationships in my life ~ I was OK with the "Patchouli Hugs," as long as he didn't forget the Chiclets!...

TASTY TID-BIT #1: While working on writing this piece, I stumbled onto this book excerpt from the book "Daddy Come Home," by Pauline Lennon who married John's father Freddie in 1969. Here she described one of John's Primal Therapy sessions:

..."In the early summer of 1970 John Lennon was undergoing intensive treatment at the Janov Institute for Primal Therapy in Los Angeles. It was a hot day in June, but for some weeks now John had been isolated from the outside world, spending most of his time exclusively with his therapist, a highly trained, sympathetic man who had himself undergone primal therapy and with whom John had built up a high level of trust.

The session was being conducted in a small, sound-proof room without windows, the walls of which were padded on two sides to allow the patient readily to express the powerful emotions which would inevitably demand release. Audio and video recorders were in operation to provide a record of the session from which both patient and therapist could later gain useful insights.

But John was only minimally aware of his surroundings at the Institute. As he lay flat on his back on the floor, as was customary during primal sessions, his consciousness had returned to a day in June 1946, a day which had been so painful that he had attempted to blot it from his memory . But now, at the gentle insistence of the therapist, he began to recall every detail of the Saturday afternoon in Blackpool when, at the age of five and a half, he had been asked to choose between his parents but had finally ended up by losing both of them.

Slowly he began to tune into the atmosphere of the Hall's house in Ivy Avenue where he had been staying for some weeks with his father awaiting emigration to New Zealand. It was here that Julia had unexpectedly appeared on that afternoon to ask that John be returned to her.

The pungent odour of Freddie's Woodbine cigarettes suddenly filled his nostrils -he was once again sitting on his father's knee in the modestly furnished front room and his beautiful red-haired mother was standing opposite him, smiling at him with that irresistible smile of hers which always melted his heart. As he became aware of the haunting perfume she always wore, he recalled how much he loved her. But suddenly his father's voice interrupted the lovely warm feeling he was experiencing and the words he heard him speaking seemed strange and frightening.

'And what is your Daddy saying to you, John?' urged the therapist, noting John's distress but realizing the need to carry on. John's reply was barely audible. 'He's saying "Mummy's going away and she won't be coming back again. Do you want to go with her or stay with me and go to New Zealand?".' He spoke these words in a whispered voice, drawing up his knees and clenching his fists with anxiety . 'I'm staying with my Daddy, I don't want to leave my Daddy,' John continued, but then he came to an abrupt halt and his features contorted as if he was now beset by some new unbearable fear.

'My Mummy's walking away down the road,' he recalled, speaking in increasingly shorter breaths. 'I'm running after her, I've reached her and I'm holding her hand. Daddy's still standing in the doorway and I'm shouting to him to join us. "Come on Daddy, come on Daddy ," I'm shouting, but he won't come.'

The atmosphere in the session room reflected an electrifying degree of tension, and it was clear that John was experiencing a deep level of pain.
'Tell your father what you need of him,' instructed the therapist, encouraging John to follow through his pain and to discharge the strong emotions which were now nearing the surface.

John found it almost impossible to give voice to the words he wanted to say, but they eventually came out in a choked sob. 'Daddy, I want you to come and join me and Mummy. I don't want you to leave me.' As he spoke it was as if he had suddenly released a floodgate of sorrow, and for the first time in many years his tears began to flow freely. But there was still more pain to be unleashed and it was the role of the therapist to push John a little further until he reached the core of his anguish.

'Your Daddy can't hear you, John,' he pressed him. 'Tell your Daddy what you need of him.'
'I need you to come after me. I need you to hold me, Daddy,' pleaded John, his voice now raised to screaming pitch as all the hurt and rage of nearly twenty-five years came pouring out. He was now on his knees, pounding the wall as he screamed the words 'Daddy, Daddy' over and over again. And as he punched away the pain, his feeling of anguish was compounded by a new and totally overwhelming terror.

His consciousness now shifted to the day he fell into a deep gully of sand on Blackpool beach, from which he was unable to free himself until his father found him. He felt himself to be surrounded by dark walls on all four sides and he was gripped by a sensation of blind panic as the sand appeared to be closing over him, shutting out the light of the sky.

'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,' he screamed, his whole body now shaking with fear. But there was no way that John could make his Daddy hear him, and once again he felt isolated and deserted. He was overcome by a sense of dread that he would never see his father again. It seemed that the trauma of the beach incident and the ordeal of his parents' parting a few days later had become inextricably intertwined in John's subconscious, resulting in an emotional burden which had remained with him since childhood but which had been too terrible for him ever to recall.

But now, as John curled himself into the foetal position, the therapist knew that the worst of the tension had been released, and at John's request he enacted the role of his father and bent down to stroke his head gently."

TASTY TID-BIT #2: John Lennon's debut solo album after the break up of the Beatles was "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band" (Released Dec. 11 1970.) It was clearly a new direction for him musically, and he certainly used this album to exorcise some of the inner demons that he encountered in Primal Therapy,...


Hold On
I Found Out
Working Class Hero
Well Well Well
Look At Me
My Mummy's Dead



Monica said...

So, wait...I thought you meant a "John Lennon Look alike" type... like, not THE John Lennon!!!! Talk about slow on the uptake!!!!! Hokay...I have heard a lot of stories about Jesus in robes types wandering from San fran to LA on Highway 1... from my partner Al when he ran the coast gallery...so I was totally stuck in those stories...there were MANY of those guys.... XOXO Monica

Jitterbug Perfumer said...

LMAO! That is too funny!!! Totally know what you mean though - for years I didn't even realize who the "Smelly Chicklet Man" in my memorie was - I think almost every guy in LA was working that look back then ;~)... XOXO

The Gossamer Tearoom said...

What an amazing memory for you! I can see how you would have a very special memory of the scent of patchouli! No one around me ever wore it, but I have been enchanted by it each time I did smell it and being a child in the 60's, I was always drawn to shops filled with lava lamps, Peter Max posters and the scent of patchouli like a bee to honey!


Jitterbug Perfumer said...

Hi Betty!

Thanks for sharing your Patchouli memories ;-)...I loved all those shops as well, so many little treasures all in one place!

Patchouli hugs from a fellow "Flower Child!"