Jill McKeever is the woman behind the awesome For Strange Women - a completely natural, wild-harvested & innovative perfume (+ amulets, restorative lip balms, magic potions) company. Her products have names like Horse & Absinthe LIps, amazing obviously. Her Haute Hippy/Victoriana Goth Aesthetic seems like a brilliant expression of her Saggo-Cancerian elements in her chart…
Mystic: You began For Strange Women in 2009 – when Neptune was in your $$$ sector on your Ceres, so this was like self-nurturing, caring for the world and making a buck, genius. It was also Saturn getting into your Brill Career sector (big concepts that feel beyond you at first, but you’re driven to do them, responsibility & having to be strategic.) How did you experience the whole beginning of your biz, formulating the concept and setting it up? How much of a shift was it from what you were doing before? How did you experience the Saturn drive – motivating? Or like a pressure – more akin to how diamonds are made lol? AND how did you come up with the excellent name?
Jill: Prior to starting For Strange Women, I had gotten sucked into a “real job” for two miserable years. I didn’t know how to break the cycle of having and spending a steady income, something that I did not have in the past (I used to just work part time), but I also knew I could not function in that kind of atmosphere for much longer. I realized that getting another full time graphic design or video job was not the answer, and that I was not built for that type of lifestyle. Even though no one took me seriously as an artist at that point, I knew what had to happen, no matter how scary it was to say goodbye to financial security for a while (I had a mortgage!). I took an awesome class about understanding prosperity at the Center for Spiritual Living here in my neighborhood in the winter of 2009, and by August of that year I had worked up the nerve to become a full-time follower of my own ideas. Saturn was definitely creating pressure. I felt that I was dying inside and time was running out. It was absolute desperation to go back to being who I am and doing things my own way. I just needed to regain confidence in myself in a time where few other people believed in me or my ideas. I have always known that I am strange, unable to follow the lifestyle that society has shaped for me, and it is easy to see now that the combo of my creative, rebellious, and stubborn nature were clear signs of an entrepreneur.
Mystic: You describe your interests as antiquarian and avant-garde, a beautiful description of your Cancerian Sun/Saggo Moon/Rising energy – how DO you experience that in your life? Do you feel more Saggo or Crab? They can be quite difficult energies to reconcile…
Jill: They ARE hard to reconcile! The Saggo wants to travel and even move to far off places (especially to mountains for some reason) and the Cancer wants to stay at home in Kansas City with the cat and the houseplants, and won’t move anywhere that is too far to bring all my comfortable and lovely antique furniture! I am always scouting for the perfect place to live, and haven’t found it yet. I move every couple years and have “home” re-established within weeks of moving in. There is a dissonance created between the two though, as I never feel secure in my home life because I know there is a better place for me to be living, although it may not something I can afford at the time. I think I could find a healthy balance by spending more time traveling in search of the perfect home. But not knowing what my future domestic situation will be drives me crazy.
Mystic: I love how you make amazing perfume and your midheaven (major career point in the chart) is in Libra – beauty, scent, womanly awesome – and you’ve got a hefty Saturn-Pluto-Hygeia conjunction there too. A lot of people make perfume & even natural ones but you’ve got some gravitas going on. Saturn-Pluto wants to reform corrupt structures & asteroid Hygeia (the health goddess) here as well means you don’t just want stuff that is organic and smells good (great as that is) you’re going to a whole other level with this; you’re a healer. Does this resonate? Your scents and concepts seem really well thought out, like a part of a whole coherent philosophy that could be applied to anything.
Jill: YES! I actually see myself as a healer. Although I do not make them available for sale, I make soaps and balms and oils to treat all kinds of skin conditions. (my friends love this!) I also find scent to be therapeutic- I do not usually create abstract perfumes because I am more interested in using scent’s ability to access the emotion and memory centers of the brain. I feel that comfort leads to good health, and my perfumes are created with the intention of triggering nostalgia, summoning (and recreating a sense of) familiar creature comforts, and infusing my innate sense of calm, grounded energy. And speaking of reforming corrupt structures, I also recently finished working on a film (fmfilm.com) about the dangers of corporate consolidation, focusing on the US radio industry. I love documentary film and watch a lot of it too. I am very interested in the politics around the food industry, the drug industry, and energy. The US has a lot of issues to sort out and I don’t think the important decisions are being made quickly enough. My Cancerian nature wants to build an off-grid bio-techture home, and the Saggo side wants to run to Canada….
Mystic: You have a really sexy and genius but erratic Venus-Uranus square (Venus in Virgo square Uranus in Saggo) – how does that play out in your love life? Are you drawn to people who really raise your Qi but who are not necessarily there for a steady relationship?
Jill: I am strangely always attracted to Gemini men! In a way that is just frustrating! I know I can’t live with a Gemini- I’ve tried several times. I really want to be with someone that enhances the domestic lifestyle for me instead of creating a zone of chaos. But it’s hard to pick and choose who I fall into a romantic spell with…. and it’s really hard to go out and meet other Cancers!
Mystic:You have Chiron with Fire Goddess Vesta and Eros in the work-health sector, you should be ingenious at time management and creating a beautiful work environment
Jill: I am indeed!
Mystic: Do you have any health-beauty and general Awesome tips you would like to share with us?
Jill: Hippocrates said the way to health involved an aromatic bath and massage daily. I would have to agree with that. I think it is healthy to spend time connecting with the natural world, and not just a park or your front yard. Get out there, into the woods. Other than that, avoid anything that contains ingredients produced by modern chemistry,
Mystic: Do you feel guided or inner-directed?
Jill: Both. I am very open to what the universe is trying to tell me, and my inner-direction then decides how to deal with that.
Mystic: Do you ever think about how lucky we are to live in times where we can follow astrology, make potions and be free women without persecution?
Jill: Yes, you’re right. Sometimes I hate living in a time when this world is globally consolidated, polluted, and on the verge of burning, but the good news is that I have the freedom to be a strange woman.
Mystic: I am Pisces with Aqua Rising and moon in Libra (hence scent obsession) what sort of ingredients would you “prescribe” for me?
Jill: Well, Pisceans seem to like the sweeter scents, while Librans are more interested in the expensive materials laden with sultry aphrodisiacs, such as rose, amber, sandalwood, and vanilla (maybe with some ambergris). Aquarius would likely gravitate to top notes such as bergamot and peppermint… nothing too deep. I think of all my perfumes, Satin Corset would be the best match for you, although Sand Dollar might be good if your Rising sign is more dominant than your moon. In general, I think good single notes to prescribe you are Ylang Ylang, Rose, and Vanilla.
Mystic: As a perfume lover from the age of about eight, when i doused myself with my mother’s Chanel number 5 to attend primary school, it has taken me a while to get my head around just how truly toxic most fragrances are….now i can’t tolerate them on my skin or in my nostrils, much as i WANT to have a collection of fancy looking frag in my bathroom, you know? How did you come to this realisation & honestly how bad are mainstream synthetics?
Jill: Synthetic perfumes not only have an overbearing chemical scent, but a load of other chemicals that are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and allergens. These chemicals are not usually even listed on the bottle! Here is a link to more information. I first began to understand the danger of the cosmetics industry when the products I was using on my skin were doing a lot of damage to it. The more I tried to fix my skin, the worse it became. As it turns out, this is true for just about every cosmetic product on the market. It is scary to realize how nothing in that industry is regulated! Right now the US is the worst with deregulation (not sure about AUS), and it is up to the individual to protect yourself. Luckily we have the internet to educate ourselves