As if I didn’t have enough soaps already curing, yesterday’s Blue Moon required another batch. You see, soapmaking — like herbal medicine, farming, and beer-brewing — has legends dating back to the Middle Ages about how the cycle of the stars and the phases of the moon can affect what you are trying to make, brew or grow, and it’s best to assess the status of the universe before trying anything. A Blue Moon — an “extra” full moon in a season — is an auspicious time for new endeavors.
Yesterday was also the funeral of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and one of my heroes as I was growing up (damn my lack of math skills! If I had them I’d be in NASA with a mohawk!) The convergence of all these events obviously required action, even though I’d managed to land one of the worst summer colds of all time.
A few days ago I’d rebatched a cold-process soap that I wasn’t happy with, and had experimented with using a paper-towel cardboard tube lined with freezer paper as a mold. It came out quite nicely and had been curing for a few days, so I had some faith it was hard enough to withstand use as an embed in new soap. I also had developed a new formula involving sustainable Palm Kernel Oil that needed testing. All this, the Blue Moon, my alchemical responsibilities, and Neil Armstrong’s passing got me into the kitchen last night despite the utter misery of a summer cold.
I couldn’t resist unmolding and cutting a little early today , simply due to the anticipation of a new formula and a new technique. But I can present Blue Moon right now:
The embed (the moon) is a goatmilk soap with dried, crushed organic chamomile flowers from my backyard. The surrounding soap is a classic olive oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil and castor oil formula, designed for decent hardness while offering excellent conditioning properties. It’s colored with ultramarine blue and activated charcoal. I could go on and on about the nature of the fragrance, but it smells like the best warm summer night you ever had as a teenager, when the world was peaceful and safe yet bursting with possibility — like a man walking on the moon.