Taos remembers local herbalist

'He was an anachronism'


Kirk Thomas Bergman, 65, of El Prado, died Sunday (Sept. 10) while riding his motorcycle along Highway 75 near Peñasco. He was a 21-year resident of Taos, where he worked as an herbalist and sold his trademark "Nu Essence" brand of incense, perfume oils and bath products. He is survived by his children, Lucy and Kai Bergman, and his grandson, Spike.

In the following tribute, written Sept. 11, he is remembered by one of his many close friends from Taos, Tara Lupo.

Kirk could often be seen in town riding his old BMW motorcycle with its red sidecar, wearing his circa-World War II motorcycle outfits. He was an anachronism, preferring vintage over new in everything – from his Volkswagen buses, to his motorcycles, his clothing and even his espresso maker. It took a long time for him to be convinced he needed a computer, but he rallied and found it useful, and his Facebook page has been inundated these few past days with outpourings of sadness from his huge community of friends the world over.

His humor led the way. He loved making people laugh and always brought playfulness into the room. He taught us all how to love through his consistent example of being loving in just about all situations. He saw the best in people and we always felt better about ourselves in his presence.

He was a deeply spiritual man, well versed in mysticism and skilled in meditative arts. He swore by his daily Tibetan Yoga practices and taught many friends over the years how to stay young and healthy through the simple practice. He was an amazing cook and loved sharing his creations. When friends threw parties he would almost always generously bring along lasagna and a tiramisu or a chocolate mousse, all utterly delicious.

Kirk was born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He made his way out west as a young man, settling in Seattle and becoming an herbalist. Out of that grew his olfactory brilliance. He started his company, Nu Essence. His incenses, called the "best in the world" by Jeanne Rose, popular herbalist and author, were all made by hand. With a large mortar and pestle he hand-ground resins and gums, added flowers and essential oils and packaged them one by one. His perfumes were soon to follow, and later bath salts and massage oils were added. There are plans for a close friend to continue creating his Nu Essence line using his recipes.

He came out to Taos in 1996 at the invitation of Alfred Savinelli, owner of Taos' Native Scents, who thought they could make beautiful scents together. They knew each other from the Oregon Country Fair, an event Kirk has participated in every year for over three decades. His "fair family" will miss him terribly.

He fell in love with Taos and Taos fell in love with him.

There is a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for his memorial, and to buy airline tickets for his children. Go to gofundme.com and search for Kirk Bergman. The memorial date and time will be posted on the Rivera Funeral Home website this week.

herbalist, tribute


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