“One finds an ancient flask, and from its spout
a spirit, now restored and much alive, pours out
a thousand slumbering thoughts, dismal chrysalids.
Within the shadows trembling like new butterflies,
which set themselves to fly, as crumpled wings unfold.
In tints of azure, frosts of rose, and flakes of gold.”
~ Charles Baudelaire
Smell is the first scent a newborn utilizes when entering Earth. Drawn to their mothers breast through the innate and inborn knowingness of the first food source, scent is truly hardwired into our species. Smell is the only fully developed scent the babe develops in the womb. And humans are the smelliest creatures on Earth, our chemical messaging system is online 24 hours a day seven days a week. It’s the only scent you cannot turn off.
Scent travels directly to the limbic system of the brain. It is intimately connected with memories and activates more neurons in the brain than an image does for memory recall. It also irrevocably alters your emotional states, and scent is so sneaky that it is actually altering your whole perception of the world without you even knowing it. Thus, scent plays with the lunar, altering the most primitive reaches of the mind that nothing else can truly access. To know scent is to know self.
Also, the presence of hormones influences your ability to smell, but the sense of smell influences your ability to produce hormones. Hormones tie into fertility, and this is one’s life force. Using scent in this conscious way plays with the life-enhancing capabilities of the essences of plants. Fertility does not necessarily always mean able to carry a baby, it means porous and fluid enough so the seeds you plant bear fruit. This is creation.
Scent is the gateway into myriads of subtleties, a vast and multifaceted layer of existence that permeates the natural world, that governs original reproduction, that alters chemistry, and unwinds materiality. When you dissolve into a scent you touch the aroma’s spirit and you then carry the crystallization of its essence within your subconscious, allowing you to intuitively use a magic that floats on by without many noticing. When you utilize scent in your practice the timeless arises, that floral state where life rejoices in itself and exists solely for beauty and perpetuate that pleasure manifold.
“The olfactory membrane is the only place in the human body where the central nervous system comes into direct contact with the environment. All other sensory information initially comes in through the thalamus. The sense of smell, however, is first processed in the limbic lobe, one of the oldest parts of the brain and the seat of sexual and emotional impulses. In other words, before we know we are in contact with a smell, we have already received information and reacted to it.”
~ “Essence and Alchemy” by Mandy Aftel
The information imparted by whatever scent you are taking in is subtly altering how your mind stories memories. Using scent in this way is sneaky, magical, and available. Changing scents based on the seasons allows you to return each revolution to how you got to where you are based on the patterns you are moving through. Since each scent has a specific affinity with organs, glands, tissues, and the like, by breathing in the vibration of a scent you are taking these same qualities into your body and having a relationship to the scent. As the characteristic of the aroma finds its way into your body, it becomes a part of you, and you are subtly being initiated into the secret world of invisibilities each time.
The fluid nature of an aroma speaks to the divine feminine at play and enwrapping all things. The way the wind moves through the tree, the pollen floats away, the wafting of a jasmine in bloom, all these things are what the linear mind can’t grasp, and they are all pervading throughout life. To be deeply connected to this is to be highly sensual – dynamically sensate.
“In a hundred different ways, we have mastered the art of space. We know a great deal about space. Yet we know pitifully little about time. It seems that only in the mystic state do we master it. The “smell brain” – the memory area of the brain activated by the olfactory nerve – and the “light brain” – the neocortex – are the keys to the mystic state. With immediacy and intensity, smell activates memory, allowing our minds to travel freely in time. The most profound mystical states are ones in which normal mental activity seems suspended in light. In mystic illumination, as at the speed of light, time ceases to exist.
Flowers do not see, hear, taste, or touch, but they react to light in a crucial manner, and they direct their lives and their environment through an orchestration of aroma.
With an increased floral consciousness, humans will begin to make full use of their “light brain” and to make more refined and sophisticated use of their “smell brain” the two are portentously linked. In fact, they overlap to such an extent that they may be considered inseparable.
We live now in an information technology. Flowers have always lived in an information technology. Flowers gather information all day. At night, they process it. This is called photosynthesis.
As our neocortex comes into full use, we, too, will practice a kind of photosynthesis. As a matter of fact, we already do, but compared to the flowers, our kind is primitive and limited.”
~Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins