General Winter

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Conjure Oils Yule 2010 Limited Edition Perfume Oil (Limited)

Russian winters are notorious for their freezing temperatures and heavy snows, and also for the advantage they give the country during wartime. A particularly bad winter in 1812 crushed Napoleon Bonaparte's Moscow invasion forces, and the bleak winter of 1941 crushed Adolf Hitler's Operation Barbarossa while on its way to the capitol, freezing the engines of panzer tanks and the fuel used to run them.

Winter is also a season depicted often in Slavic folklore and myth. It is the province of the Morana, Slavic goddess of snow, darkness and death and an equivalent of Demeter, who is burned in effigy when spring returns and she transforms into a beautiful maiden. Long ago, Ded Moroz's beautiful granddaughter Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden) also fell in love with a herdsman but melted away when spring came. The season is also home to winter festivals in a number of Russia 's cities — including the capitol that neither Napoleon nor Hitler could take.

General Winter — or sometimes General Snow — is the militaristic nickname given to this winter, and he is honored by this perfume.

Desolate and barren patchouli, splinters of ice, shriveled brown frost-dappled steppe grass, the smoke of distant birch fires, the barest hint of sbiten — a hot Russian beverage consisting of Soviet honey, sweet blackberry jam with deep spices: nutmeg, warming cinnamon, spicy ginger root, clove bud, the ghostly residue of motor oil and General Winter's triumph over tyranny.

JoSelle Vanderhooft
Utah, USA


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