Behind Temple O Flora
Aromatics, Alembics and Alchemy
I'm Sunny, and Temple O Flora (TOF) is a confluence of the deepest loves in my life - plants, art and healing -as well as a distillation of many learned skills. I have felt drawn to plants as long as I can remember. Both of my parents shared my love of all things plant related, and some of my earliest memories are of wandering through greenhouses with my mom. At the age of 10, I carefully designed and planted my first herb garden, and have continued to learn about plants and their uses throughout my life. I studied horticulture and design in college, and later went on to train in Ayurvedic medicine and herbalism.
The Temple of Flora was an ancient sanctuary in Rome, dedicated to the goddess Flora ("flourishing one"). Flora is the embodiment of all nature and plant life. She gives fragrance to blossoms and teaches us to honor growing things, both inside and outside ourselves. She invites us to pay attention to pleasure, beauty and new life. I chose the name in honor of the beauty and wonder of plants, and their ability to connect us with our own creativity and the Divine Feminine within all.
Fiber + Fragrance
For most of my adult life, I have been pursuing a working knowledge of aromatic materials and processes. I began learning the art of aromatic distillation in 2015 and continue to advance in my knowledge and experience. Aromatic art, like Ayurveda, is a discipline which requires (in my experience), a lifetime to master. Smell is the only sense which is directly linked to our limbic system, bypassing the thalamus and accessing the most primal part of our brain. It is intimately connected to our emotions and memories, personal and collective, and forms a bridge to the unconscious parts of Self and to the unseen realms. Partnering with aromatic plant allies is one of the most powerful tools in healing the psyche. As my work evolves, I am deeply interested in how plant medicine, specifically aromatics, and alchemy intersect with ceremony, ritual and art in healing the Self.
Most recently, I have immersed myself in the study of natural dyeing and ecoprinting. There is magic in working with the plants to extract color and print. I am continually spellbound by what the flowers, leaves and roots reveal of themselves, and I experience an incredible sense of interdependence with them in this practice. I am a privileged partner and facilitator in the expression of their innate beauty.
My hope is that by sharing what I have gathered and learned along the way, I may guide you in your own exploration of plants, primarily through the mediums of fiber and fragrance. And that by developing a greater appreciation of their magic and medicine, you will cultivate deeper connection and personal relationship with the plants and the natural world as a whole. This is "viriditas", the green vitality in plants, which they may generously impart to us, making healing possible.