We speak to an alchemist who is reawakening the beauty secrets of queens like Cleopatra and Nefertiti with ancient oil traditions
Did you know oils were the first medicines, perfumes and cosmetics in the world, dating back to ancient Egypt? It's only now that science is finally catching up to prove the efficacy of high grade botanicals for a range of conditions. In fact, China just received its first Nobel Prize for the successful extraction of artemisinin, an active ingredient from sweet wormwood, that has become an effective cure for malaria today.
As more about the healing nature of plants comes to light, so has the demand for more natural and conscious solutions. Anticipating this shift, Yvette Sitten, alchemist and founder of Aurora Alchemy, has developed a range of oils that not only pack in the best from Mother Nature but also incorporate Goddess archetypes from around the world, to lead us closer to the divine feminine within.
How did you start working with oils?
Accidentally! As a journalist and documentary maker, I was convinced that the next big trend for healing and beauty would come from nature and natural healing methods. In 2005, I began researching a television show on ancient beauty and fell into a rabbithole of epic proportions. I learned incredible things about our innate power to self-heal and one of the most potent substances for accelerated results I experienced were oils and flower essences. I fell in love with the miraculous power of oils, the many ways to use them and their healing scents. After I travelled to Egypt where I learned the secret history of oils and how they were used for ceremonies and healing, it became my life's work, new business, as well as the big story I had been waiting for!
What were your earliest concoctions and how did the transition to starting your brand take place?
As my passion and sensitivity for oils and plant medicine grew, I began to create quite instinctively, a range of super-powered luxury oils dedicated to creating specific feelings or vibrations. Each had a different intention based on healing or empowerment, with blended properties for rebalancing certain conditions or common disorders and ailments. Using the best organic ingredients I could find, I began mixing my first 'magic potions' infused with crystals and herbs. The first four oils created were: Durga for Protection, Aphrodite for Pleasure, Lakshmi for Abundance and Diana for the Warrior spirit.
From the very first batch I made, just 10 bottles with hand-written labels and very basic bottles, I was completely sold out. This happened repeatedly each time I made a batch. I was still working in television then so people would deposit money direct into my account and tell me to call them when I got round to making more oils. Fuelled by demand that never stopped increasing, I started to devote more time and energy to this new enterprise. Within a year, to my surprise, the oils were stocked in nine countries. Aurora Alchemy had been launched!
A decade later, I stand by creating the most amazing product I can and letting the rest take care of itself. If something works, the legend grows. Even today, people still buy my half-used personal bottles straight out of my hand when I anoint them!
Oils are enjoying renewed interest in the beauty and wellness industry, what do you think makes yours so unique?
There's nothing like it on the market. Part of the brand concept is to provide a luxury and quality not attainable in stores, a consciousness above and beyond the norm that could only be achieved through traditional artisanal blending and hands-on precision to every detail of the perfumery process. Some things are best done at home!
We start with our ingredients, sourced from the best growers on earth — exceptional oils create exceptional blends. Each oil has a multitude of essential oils in the blend, along with gems, dried flowers and herbs which create a greater potency over time. Alchemy is a blend of many systems of healing — we include mantra, meditation, mixing during certain times of the month as essential elements of concocting our magic. Alchemy is also a science of hidden secrets and codes... there are tricks of the trade that only an alchemist is privy to.
How can people best use the oils to get the most efficacy?
The oils are a reawakening of the tradition of anointing oils, which are liberally smeared over the skin as an Act of Consecration. This tradition is not just upheld in ancient texts such as the Bible, it also happens to be the most effective way to introduce oils into the system... through the skin. The oils should be applied all over the body and massaged into the skin after a shower, when the pores are open from the steam. This allows the oils to sink in deeper and penetrate the layers of the skin with ease. For internal healing, massage the oils into the soles of the feet. Studies have proven that essential oils applied this way will affect every cell in the body within 21 minutes.
For a quick energy booster, drop a few drops perfume-style onto wrists, rub and inhale as many times as needed.
Most of your oils are named after a Goddess archetype. Is it another therapy modality at work? Tell us more.
Yes. Each oil is colour-coded and named after a Goddess in world culture to represent the divine feminine principles of compassion, grace and nurturing that is needed for balance and well-being. The Goddesses are the superpowers behind each oil, centering around a divine quality or virtue that an enlightened soul emanates into the world. True worship of the Goddess was not about idolatory but representing that virtue... being it. The properties of the oils in each blend support this quality to grow within the inner life of each user.
We all have these abilities if we allow ourselves to delve within. My personal mantra is "Create the change you wish to see in the world". To me, the Goddesses are like genies in a bottle waiting to be unleashed. You can look at how each archetype best relates to you and choose the archetype you want to enhance or balance your personality.
Has moving to New Zealand played a part in the evolution of your brand?
Although I started making (and selling) the oils in Singapore when I was still living in my high-rise apartment in Sengkang, with some success, it wasn't until I moved to New Zealand that I encountered the true source of what I was working with. Mother Nature at her finest. Back then, I knew the oils were having remarkable effects on people, but I didn't fully comprehend why. Eight years of nature immersion later, I have a better idea! New Zealand is a dream base for the nature-lover and medicine-maker. The focus is on purity, sustainability and organic approaches to nature. I especially enjoy working with tribes to exchange and share indigenous knowledge and plant wisdom.
Which are some of your personal favourites from the range?
Swan Shift is an incredible healing blend of rose, spikenard and gingergrass that makes me feel relaxed and invulnerable. There are several confidence-boosting blends in the range that help shift fear quickly and I always keep these on hand. Diana Amazon Warrior Potion is my go-to for any situation that needs courage, Joyful Surrender if I ever feel down and out, Durga for fighting off nasties (coughs, colds and bad energy), and Kwan Yin brings me back whenever I lose faith in a situation.
You've recently launched a range of perfumes too. Do they work like the oils? Tell us more about that.
We have just debuted our exclusive range of fine Arabian perfume oils online. Until now, they have been a bit of a well-kept secret, shared only by seasoned users! In response to the growing demand for natural, non-synthetic perfumes, I developed a series of 'Higher Keys' to complement the main range of body oils, like the layering of a top note. Just one whiff sends you into new realms, a perfumed garden of the imagination.
The perfumes are rare, sourced from deep in the Middle East... but they are worth the effort to find, because even one drop stays put all day. Being completely natural, these strong perfumes harmonise with, rather than overpower, the user. Over time, these beautiful pure perfumes actually change the body chemistry, positively affecting the natural smell of the user's body.
What's your mission and what can we expect from Aurora Alchemy in the future?
Saving the world one golden drop at a time! I believe in planetary alchemy and I love it that the users come from all over the planet. It's literally like blessing the earth with each new order we ship out. Through our new AuroraApp, we hope to reach out to more users who wish to connect more easily to the website, online shop and the Aurora Academy, our online portal for workshops, e-courses and further learning.
We have lots of exciting new brand offerings rolling out too. We are about to launch the Aurora Alchemy Clothing Technology line — a select range of meditation and goddesswear incorporating sacred geometry, alchemy symbols and spiritual mantras. Its all about wearing a vibration. That's my vision — a world of great vibes, harmony and happiness.