I smell things. Some describe this as extra-sensory scent, clairolfaction or clairolfactance. Others simply call it psychic smelling. My first time was when I was in junior high. A “mean girl” spread some rumour about me (eye roll — I was talking to her boyfriend — correction— her boyfriend was talking to me), and she claimed the rumour was started by someone else. It was the usual adolescent cocktail of hormones, drama, ‘territory’, and insecurities. The scapegoated girl denied the words, but didn’t want to point fingers either because it meant her own reputation was liable, and in high schools, reputation is everything.
Yet I could smell the girl whose boyfriend was talking to me every time I heard the rumour repeated. And though I never said why I knew, or why I believed the scapegoated girl, I didn’t see it as a moment of pride to intuitively know. I never did confront the “mean girl”, partly because I didn’t think it was worthwhile (she was, after all, far more popular than I), and back then, I held space very differently. What was I supposed to say, anyway? “I know it was you because I can smell you?” Hardly a savvy thing to say. No, all I could do was silently bear the experience…and I wrote a parody to Kurt Cobain’s song, changing its name to “Smells like Teen [Gossip]”.
I began having psychic scent experiences consistently when I was 19. At first, I’d ask others with me if they could also smell the scents. Rarely would the scents be with us on the physical level, which meant that I learned to stop asking others and just trust that the smells were coming from a different plane. For the following decade or so, I navigated in the dark, running from it, learning from mistakes, then experimenting and befriending the gift. It was lonely and full of struggle. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t find anyone or anything that served as a resource for clairolfactance. It was as if all the other “clairs” (aka clairvoyance, clairaudience — aka the other psychic gifts) got more attention and more status.
The scents I perceived were often odours of cigarettes, cologne and perfumes, flowers and other plants, specific foods, and human musk. The scents were arbitrary, uninvited, and unexpected. I never knew when I would smell them, and often didn’t know what they meant. For years, I would also struggle with receiving them. My mother attended an evangelical Christian church, and paranormal activities other than praying in tongues was considered to be the Devil’s work. Why was I receiving the scents? What were they for? And was I destined to eternal flames if I were to engage with the scents or with those who sent them?
It’s worth mentioning that scent is the only sense that goes straight to the limbic system without other processing. The limbic system is a set of brain structures that supports a variety of functions including emotion, behaviour, motivation, long term memory and olfaction. Theta brain waves are also often associated with memory, emotion, and beliefs. Since scent is the only sense that can access the limbic system directly and without filtering, it also means that scent contains keys to unlock our truest truths and experiences.
For those who experience psychic smelling (also known as clairolfactance or clairolfaction), extra-sensory scent is a SUPER tool to wisdom. This could be to access future potentials, unlock pasts, receive spirit or ancestral knowledge, receive warnings and encouragements with accuracy and relevance.
Clairolfactance was the gift that led me into the world of the occult, the shamanic, and the magickal, defining me as who I am today. It’s also what I have kept secret and silent for far too long. It was — and is — what makes me feel alive as a witch.
(I discuss the bigger context in my blog article titled, How did I become a Shamanic Practitioner). Here’s a summary of what I did that may be also helpful for you if you think you are experiencing clairolfactance:
Pay attention to what you’re doing and thinking about when you receive the scents. Sometimes there is a correlation; an example would be you ask a question and then a scent arrives (the scent could serve as the answer from Spirit).
Once you receive the scent, tune in and ask what is the most automatic association with the scent. This is an intuitive exercise, not an intellectual one.
Scents often relate to specific people, animals, emotions or behaviours. For instance, I can smell scents that relate to my loved ones and professional connections, as well as greed, dishonesty, lust, and gossip to name a few.
If a particular scent continues and grows in intensity / frequency, ask yourself if the scent is functioning as a warning or an encouragement. My experience is that one that grows in intensity/ frequency are warnings, which then begs us to examine what needs to be paid attention to and to possibly change. When the smell discontinues, then it can be a sign that the danger has been avoided.
I can also smell specific plant scents that don’t relate to a specific person / emotion, but rather, it’s the presence of the plant teacher herself, lending me wisdom or nurturance. If you smell specific plants that aren’t associated with anyone/anything, consider this a loving pat on the back, with the plant offering their unique medicine to you.
Psychic smelling can be layered with other forms of intuition or divinatory practises. There are times when I consult Tarot or the I Ching after I receive a scent download, or have even embarked on a shamanic journey to seek further clarity.
On May 5, I am offering a LIVE Online Course on PSYCHIC SMELLING (CLAIROLFACTANCE). I was overwhelmed when Spirit said to write this curriculum. I protested. I listed excuses. I can’t possibly do this. Not experienced enough. Not smart enough. Not [insert anything] enough. My spirit allies replied, “If you don’t, who will? Others are also wanting to learn, to develop their own psychic smelling sense”. Then they sent me psychic smells non-stop for days until I said, “Okay, okay!! I will offer this course.”
Then I started to cry. Because I realized that it was opening a gaping, personal witch wound. And it’s also the way for the wounded healer to see herself. To see herself so that others can also see her. And ultimately, for others to finally see themselves as well.
So… May 5 from 3-5PM PST. Replay link provided. I welcome you to walk this fragrant path with me.
Do you experience clairolfaction? Would love to hear from you!!
founder and Spirit Communicator
If you enjoyed this post, and would like more, please feel free to share with your friends. I also welcome you to follow Ceremonie on Instagram or the email list! My neurofeedback work can be found via Open Minds Performance, also on IG.