It was in the magical landscape of the sacred lands of the Aude that I crossed paths with Claire Vandewalle in 2018, around the hot baths of Rennes-les-Bains, over which the Bugarach mountain is watching. Since then, her work via the sense of olfaction through the creation of olfactory themes, care and hygiene products for the body envelope or personalized perfumes has not ceased to inspire and enchant me.
She is a daughter of a doctor and has always been attracted by the exploration of non-invasive healing methods; it gives each person the opportunity to be at the center of their healing journey through their own understanding of things and personal transformation. In 2010, she stopped using allopathic medicine and turned to the wisdom and medicine of plants as she was travelling abroad. She then went on walks to discover plants, prepared herbal teas and experimented a lot: “For a time, I was discovering each plant one by one in nature, their smells, their virtues, I was getting to know them, their habits, their needs. Plants, like each individual, are unique and have a vibration of their own. They play on specific strings.” One day, she came across a book on energetical aromatherapy. The author talked about healing with the soul of plants, the essential oils were classified by color, in relation to the action of the plants on each chakra: “I found it was great to see the world through this lence”.
The game of colors, an initiation
One of Claire’s working tools is a set of 14 colors that she created to compose the perfume that suits us at that particular moment of life: “each plant is classified in one or more colors according to certain criteria.” Are the molecules that make up the plant heavy or light? On which part of the body does the plant act? Are they roots or creepers, or even a tree? During our meeting, Claire invites me to choose the color that attracts me the most; I choose purple. Then comes the color that doesn’t thrill me at the moment (white) and a random one (orange). For each color, I smell the associated perfume composed of 3 to 10 plants. Lavender for example with its ethereal molecules is associated with purple: “to classify them by colors, I analyze the behavior of the plant, how it grows. Lavender has a long stem with a certain strength of character. Even if we cut it, it continues to give off a smell for a long time on our shelves. We understand by its morphology that lavender will rise very high, open its little antennae and pick up things from the sky.”
It is the smell associated with the color white that nourishes me without me being able to put words to it: a pleasant, unexpected, forgotten smell. Each color comes with a message: purple is linked to connection in action: prayer, trust and harvest time. White goes beyond the individual and connects to more cosmic things; it is linked to purity and source, essence, integration, Christ consciousness and transmutation. The related need is for integrity to fulfill a mission on Earth. Orange brings things down to earth in the belly. This blend of colors is like “an invitation to connect to the aligned source to be in total integrity, right down to the belly, an enthusiastic life force that expresses itself well when it is in balance with spiritual forces.
Claire’s floral waters and hydrosols smell divine, especially helichrysum: “you can put a capful of it in your cup, for its anti-inflammatory effect internally, or in the bath water in winter to warm up your cold extremities.” I smell one of the formulas created by Claire, “protection of therapists”. The preparation, which promotes connection to the source and purification of energies, brings together various hydrolats (juniper, sage officinale for purification, cistus) and essential oils (juniper, the guardian of other worlds for purification, frankincense (olibanum) for elevation of the spirit, galbanum for retrospection and connection to the forces of the earth, hemlock for lucidity and mental mastery, and noble laurel for confidence). Claire’s preparations have the grace of well-kept secrets.
Recently, Claire has created a line called “Perfumes of Presence”: “this line aims at connecting to a particular state of presence. Each plant has a message, each assists us in stimulating and creating a particular state such as rebirth for example. They encourage us to transition from one moment in life to another one. It is then a question of creating a new life thanks to the transmutation of the old life and to take a moment for oneself. Through perfume, the state of being is modified.” Claire also creates personalized creations, tailor-made perfumes, which are dedicated to and linked to the unique energetic signature of an individual: “it is a vibratory, spiritual and poetic aspect: each plant is a being in its own right and is on earth to share something. In my perfumes, I create a story where each plant is a character in the story whose message I have captured to convey.” She offers three formulas for the creation of a unique perfume: a mini (10 ml) to accompany something momentary (55 euros with the inclusion of a 45-minute consultation with the game of colors and postage fees nationally for France); a medium of 30 ml (88 euros, plus the choice of a specific bottle) and the last one dedicated to high quality perfumes like rose or jasmine (111 euros, with precious oils). These are also 3 price ranges for creating something unique and special that doesn’t exist anywhere else: “a second side after discovering the game of colors is to use the power of intention to inscribe new memories through the creation of a perfume. One of my first clients reported to me, after the creation of a personalized perfume, that it transformed her life. She would put it on every night before going to sleep; she would fall asleep in a kind of well-being thanks to this smell that accompanied her.” The color side remains very important in Claire’s work, especially via color elixirs.
What I tried out
At the end of 2020, I worked with the creations “Eternity” and “Harmonia”, to “spray to modify a state of presence“. In the category of presence perfumes (10 ml, 17 euros), eternity brings together hydrolate of helichrysum and orange blossom with essential oils of helichrysum, neroli, mandarin and sandalwood. The creation “Dream Awakened” which combines clary sage, fine lavender, juniper and mugwort hydrosol with essential oils of clary sage, lavender, hyssop and Roman chamomile, will also join me, to “promote lucid dreams. The ingredients promote the opening of the 3rd eye as well as relaxation, which invites a state of wakefulness in sleep, from vivid dreams to lucid dreaming. I created it when I was working on lucid dreaming,” explains Claire. Finally, in the category of color elixirs (10 ml, 12 euros) that encourage certain aspects of expression, red is associated with anchoring, strength, vitality while yellow comes with joy, freedom, confidence. They can be placed on the wrists, neck, heart, stomach, or lower back. “The red color you chose might better resonate with the lower body, the sacrum and kidneys or even the feet. “. As Claire conveys, the sense of smell clearly appears as a vehicle for exploration.
In addition to her plant-related activities, Claire offers personalized guidance to move towards the realization of one’s potential and the activation of inner creativity. Today, Claire is expanding her dreams and her impact on the world via a large and ambitious project: that of dedicating a place to the meeting of art and healing, which she already combines wonderfully in her perfumes. At the beginning of 2019, she opened in collaboration with her life partner in Rennes-les-Bains the Harmonia Center, which brings together in one place different universes, talents and interests: medicinal garden, personalized consultations for care and perfumes, music classes, art exhibitions, conferences and trainings.