Perfumes, incenses, scents

Rituals, spells, prayer, meditation and magical acts.
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Heith
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Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Heith » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:38 pm

For a while now, I have been interested of the esoteric qualities of perfumes. This happened quite naturally, in connection to a certain practise I was doing last year, but I was still surprised to notice this as I have a sensitive nose and I don’t like being in places where there is many different kind of scents.

The difference between a perfume and a “perfume” became clear to me, when I stumbled across a small company that hand blends everything they do. These scents were not chemical and didn’t irritate my senses. I still can’t stand the majority of factory made perfumes and other fragrances. There is something hard and violent in them.

I’m sure that many here have read Süskind’s excellent novel Perfume. If not, this is a highly recommendable book (if you choose one, don’t watch the film. It doesn’t measure up, in my opinion.) and unusual in a sense that one doesn’t in any way get attached to the main character; the odourless, tick-like Grenoiulle. In short, this novel goes quite in depth to the importance of scent and what kind of messages the most simple scent can subtly put out in the world.

This is also true to incense. I find myself quite hopelessly depending on palo santo, the smell of which instantly takes me to happy and calm memories and allows me to work better. It is true that our sense of smell links very strongly to memories.

One particularly fascinating thing about actual perfume is that the same perfume will not smell the same on two different people. I find this so interesting. Each person’s skin will “finish” the formulae. The hand blended perfumes are less stable on this, and I really like that. It’s always a surprise. Some of them can turn really awful (like that one which on me smelled like a rancid biowaste bag, but on my friend like dust and roses), and others instantly put me in a mindset which I need for whatever task. Putting on a perfume, when I do, is a strangely ritualistic event during which I decide who am I going to be today. Sometimes I like people to talk to me, other times not. Different types of perfumes work for this. More masculine ones make people leave me alone. It's of course also very handy to simply put on a absurd amount, if one fancies to sit by themselves on a train or the bus. Guaranteed to work!
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Mimesis
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Mimesis » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:38 am

I can well relate to this. Generally speaking, my senses and the nature with which I use them are quite clumsy, but my sense of smell I think to be my strongest and most able.
Not necessarily in a directly ritualistic or spiritual way, by way of particular incenses for specific purposes - although this is something I practice and think of as being important - but more in the way that scent impacts on how I feel or am able to cope in whatever environment I find myself in.

It is actually only during the last few years that I have realised to what degree scent can effect me. For example, there are countless situations and environments throughout my life that I can remember feeling incredibly anxious, uncomfortable and panic-stricken in, which I have become more able to cope with upon recognising the way in which the scents involved heighten my experience of these feelings.

On the one hand it has become a kind of coping strategy, because it has given me an invisible world to focus on when things within the one that I can see and touch become too much.
However, it can also be very overwhelming when even the slightest scent of something can have such an impact on how one feels.
I remember feeling almost delirious at times when in a previous job I used to work in a very busy and densely occupied office. The sheer amount of different scents there and my seeming ability to pick them all out became impossible to be around at times, and caused tangible effects such as endless headaches and nausea.

Just a few days ago I noticed that I often organise my preferences and memory by way of their scent, although someone had to point this out to me in order for me to intellectually recognise it.
I was drinking tea in a tea house which I visit most weekends, and the woman whom is always serving there highlighted to me last week that I always describe tea by their characteristics of scent when I am referring to something that I either have had, am having or am looking for but know not yet of.

Even emotionally scent has recently evoked things out of me that nothing else has been able to. Someone very dear and close to me recently passed, and although I know at my core to be deeply effected by this, it was the scent of certain things I associate them with which were, and remain the first and only things to really visibly and tangibly pull a display of emotion from me, so to speak.

And, similarly, the scent that I associate with a range of wonderful memories and individuals instantly draws warmth and meaning to me.

I guess scent in this way draws a kind of inner map for me to navigate. It gives me something to relate the world around me to my own inner world, and vice-versa.
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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Heith
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Heith » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:05 pm

Omoksha wrote:I can well relate to this. Generally speaking, my senses and the nature with which I use them are quite clumsy, but my sense of smell I think to be my strongest and most able.
Not necessarily in a directly ritualistic or spiritual way, by way of particular incenses for specific purposes -
I have for ages hoped to map out a specific incense for each day of the week. I just haven't had the time to think about this a lot. If someone has some associations, I would be quite interested to hear them. It doesn't have to be incenses per se, any smell or scent that you associate with a certain day would be of interest.
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Mimesis » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:57 pm

Heith wrote:
I have for ages hoped to map out a specific incense for each day of the week. I just haven't had the time to think about this a lot. If someone has some associations, I would be quite interested to hear them. It doesn't have to be incenses per se, any smell or scent that you associate with a certain day would be of interest.
Really nice idea.
I have in the past thought of scent associations for each day, in relation to the celestial, astrological, archetypal, colour, keynote, polarity and principle correspondences for each day, but never so clearly or directly as this.
It seems obvious to do so now!

Would be interesting to see how something as traverse as scent can relate to other such rigid associations. I will certainly consider and think over this now.

I find myself doing so already!
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Kavi » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:25 am

I was thinking about opening this topic one day, but good that here is already discussion happening! :D

I am not that through in the "field of scents" that I could associate them with any weekdays, but god I love the smell of myrrh and cinnamon. They take me to contemplative state and even if I'm sitting in my small room it feels like it's a church.
Throughout my life I used to have citrus-based perfumes until I found one which has at least ginger and patchouli (I don't really know what it has, but it smells good) and after that there is no turning back. That was also the time I became interested in incense too.
I also find the idea to make your own perfume quite fascinating, but I could assume that in the end the "diy perfume" would be like horribly made home-made beverage.
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Heith » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:53 pm

Kavi wrote: I also find the idea to make your own perfume quite fascinating, but I could assume that in the end the "diy perfume" would be like horribly made home-made beverage.
I actually pondered at one point whether I should pursue an education in perfume blending. The process of making them seems quite alchemic, but of course I have these romantic notions of sitting next to weird glass tubes and slowly shimmering cauldrons and extracting the materials from therein. I'm sure the reality is quite different.

I can very well relate to this love of cinnamon and myrrh! They are quite "fool proof" scents in a way that they go for most occasions, and work on most people's skin. Cinnamon sometimes irritates my skin a little, if there is a lot of it, and it tends to wear off quite quickly.

Inspired by your responses, I put on my recent favourite which is based on resins. This reminds me of being in a church where in the distance, slight wafts of incense still linger in the air, and one can sense the warmth of candles. Mostly it's cold white stones, under which in eternal silence, old bones and decay give their faint odour which in, serpentine and slow motion, clings to one's ankles. Actually part of this scent reminds me of a place where I did a ritual once, of which pieces of earth and a small cloth remain sealed in a plastic bag which I keep. I dare not open that yet, even it's been quite a while, because the ritual was so intense and the place so strangely energetically charged that the scent will take me there, and I need more courage prior to my return!

Actually, this gives me a further thought. Do you think that, a piece of earth like that which is very heavily charged in a certain scent is enough to transport one back to the place of the ritual, enough in a way that if one does a ritual in their living room, they actually in some ways are doing the ritual in the place where the earth is coming from? Kind of a nosferatuish thought, actually -he did, after all, require the soil of his homeland in order to rest for the day.
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Nayana » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:38 pm

Heith wrote:Putting on a perfume, when I do, is a strangely ritualistic event during which I decide who am I going to be today.
In times I do the very same thing with clothes. Depending on the colors, cuts, and general outcome I just feel different and move into a different direction, and do create an impression of myself for others as well.

Just some weeks ago for the first time I sat down and consciously smelled some natural scents I was given to try. This seems like such a plain thing, but I was blown away a little. Some of my senses are interlinked with each other (synesthesia, if it's correct what people tell me), so that I usually 'see' colors and structures in connection with certain things like music, emotions, sometimes even thoughts. This was most intense with the scents I was given. The only one I remember by name was Iris, which was fascinating to experience. To me it had a very soft structure, and I connected a color gradient from bright white in the middle to a strong deep purple on the outside to it.

As this was my first conscious contact with scents, I didn't really think about their esoteric values yet. But I really like the idea that this is another factor that may decide 'who I am going to be today'. Changing the way I feel about myself often was something that allowed me to easier change directions or move along.
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Mimesis » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:47 am

Nayana wrote:
Some of my senses are interlinked with each other (synesthesia, if it's correct what people tell me), so that I usually 'see' colors and structures in connection with certain things like music, emotions, sometimes even thoughts.
Interesting, I thought of the relation between the following when I first read this thread, and very almost mentioned it....Alexander Scriabin was a composer whom was almost entirely influenced by synesthesia, if you don't already know of him(?). If not, you might find him interesting, based on what you have said.
He was a mystic, and associated colours with the various harmonic tones of an atonal scale that he himself developed. Furthermore, he based his own circle of fifths on colours, in a way that was influenced by, and related directly to Theosophy's correspondences.

I was initially thinking of this in regard to the relationship between scent and, in this case music, but also in any form of visual, literary (etc) art. Which would be by its nature synesthesia.

Scent, to me, cannot be lent to forming any kind of system such as Scriabin's circle of fifths or atonal scale, because it is infinite and endlessly subject to change depending on person, environment, space and all manner of variables. It is beautifully beyond categorisation!
More like a mode of transportation, rather than categorisation.
Transportation to a memory, to a moment of clairvoyance, to an image or place of ones imagining, to an impression of something, to an intention....
"We are such stuff. As dreams are made on, and our little life. Is rounded with a sleep."
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Mimesis » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:07 am

Heith wrote:
Actually, this gives me a further thought. Do you think that, a piece of earth like that which is very heavily charged in a certain scent is enough to transport one back to the place of the ritual, enough in a way that if one does a ritual in their living room, they actually in some ways are doing the ritual in the place where the earth is coming from?
I absolutely think this. Without realising I naturally mentioned it in my last reply, in that I think scent a mode of transportation rather than of categorisation.

Even in just reading the beautiful picture that you painted of the place that your favourite resin based perfume takes you, I myself can visualise how the place would be like to me. The visualisation is rich not because my imagination is great, but because for me scent kind of takes me out of myself, or indeed closer to myself in some instances. But either way, it takes me somewhere in a way that to me at least is very real/tangible.

I have sometimes smelt things that have in an instant taken me back to places that I have physically never even been, as well as to tangible places and memories that I have.

A place which has become very important to me started to become clear in this way initially via scent. Without knowing it the first time that I visited this place, it was somewhere that I had visualised something quite profound in dream. During the walk to the place I speak of, I became very aware of smelling something that I recognised, although I could not place what it was, and knew never to have physically been there. It became stronger as I walked, until the place itself became visible and I was completely overwhelmed with having known and been there before, despite never having physically been so.
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Re: Perfumes, incenses, scents

Postby Kavi » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:37 am

Omoksha wrote:
Nayana wrote:
Some of my senses are interlinked with each other (synesthesia, if it's correct what people tell me), so that I usually 'see' colors and structures in connection with certain things like music, emotions, sometimes even thoughts.
Interesting, I thought of the relation between the following when I first read this thread, and very almost mentioned it....Alexander Scriabin was a composer whom was almost entirely influenced by synesthesia, if you don't already know of him(?). If not, you might find him interesting, based on what you have said.
He was a mystic, and associated colours with the various harmonic tones of an atonal scale that he himself developed. Furthermore, he based his own circle of fifths on colours, in a way that was influenced by, and related directly to Theosophy's correspondences.

I was initially thinking of this in regard to the relationship between scent and, in this case music, but also in any form of visual, literary (etc) art. Which would be by its nature synesthesia.

Scent, to me, cannot be lent to forming any kind of system such as Scriabin's circle of fifths or atonal scale, because it is infinite and endlessly subject to change depending on person, environment, space and all manner of variables. It is beautifully beyond categorisation!
More like a mode of transportation, rather than categorisation.
Transportation to a memory, to a moment of clairvoyance, to an image or place of ones imagining, to an impression of something, to an intention....
I can't really say that I experience synesthesia as I don't see heard music as colors, but these colors helped me out in the youth when I learnt the correct musical notes. Even nowadays I associate the notes with colors so I believe the colors helped me to memorize things, but the problem is that it doesn't really fit the color spectre or system of Theosophy's. :D
For example C for me is yellow, where as D is orange and E is red.
Also as Nayana, I can usually "see" structures in connection with music. But for me emotions are actual places with colors. Musical mode system in arabic music is called "maqam" (station, place, location) so I could imagine that there is somekind of connection. Placing of notes and intervals and building up of certain mode or "mood".
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