Scent is given priority in our bodies
Our bodies and the sensory systems it relies on, is always taking in information. Scent is a form of the data that comes in, and is prioritized over other information put through the nervous system. This is because the olfactory nerve was the first cranial nerve to develop in an evolutionary sense, and is the only cranial nerve that directly transmits to the brain, without first needing to relay through another part of the central nervous system. In other words, scent is exempt from the conventional queue and skips the line altogether. Scent is given priority in our bodies.
This means that aroma contains a potency that cannot be ignored by the human and non-human body; it signals vital information of safety, health, willingness and readiness to mate, and so much more, that must reliably convey the signal without hesitation, confusion, or distraction for us to make decisions without even awareness that we are making these decisions. Our response to smells is primal, intuitive, emotional, psychological, and physical. Smells function as a way for babies to recognize their mothers, for sexual partners to increase their arousal, for us to intuit if it’s safe to eat the leftovers that’s been sitting in the fridge since last Sunday. Aroma signals. Aroma is a form of speech.
Aroma and Witchcraft
Spiritually AND historically, fragrance was a modality engaged in to communicate with the Unseen, rousing the attention of ancestors, spirit allies, and the Divine to affect the materialized world (I share further in What’s In A Fragrance?). Incense and other forms of burning plants and soil, resins, and fragrant botanicals have been employed in ritual and spiritual practice to invoke, appeal to, recall, purify, consecrate, appoint, and make sacred. Again, aroma as a form of speech.
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I often say that in animist witchcraft, it’s not so much about memorizing plant correspondences from a static symbolic perspective as having relations with a network of energies that one is wishing to invoke and access during spellwork. For instance, Oranges as possessing energies associated with Abundance and Material Prosperity (Oranges being the “lesser and symbolic” energy, and Abundance being the “larger, iconic energy”). Yet, for me, deeming Oranges as merely associative is a) disrespectful as it assumes a diminishment of the being of the Orange Tree/ Fruitb) denies the power of magick in the first place, as it’s about the relationship between the parts that creates the total sum, resulting in a weakened / ineffective spell
For instance, to say that only the flesh of the Orange is the Orange is an extractive point of view, as the Peel of the Orange, the Seed of the Orange, the Oil of the Orange (from the Peel), the Leaf of the Orange are, in fact, still Orange. Broaden this further, whether we are working with Oranges, Kumquats, Clementines, Mandarins, Gold Coins, the colour Orange and Yellow, or other related correspondence, they are all part of the expression of Abundance, and are not simply sentimental emblems, designed to imitate the “real thing”. This also goes for the quantity involved. 1 gallon of Oranges is just as “Orangey” as one single Orange. When any aspect of the network is communicating or communicated with, the whole network is aware and notified. Speech is communal. Effective magick is premised on communal speech.
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Plants possess intelligence, personality, and direct capacities to rouse qualities from themselves as well as call on the network of energies for which they have relationship with (this is how I define correspondences), and when we understand this from the perspective of magick, this is where the power of fragrance lies.
Terpenes, the naturally occuring fragrance and flavour compounds of a plant (sometimes even the colour), function to communicate with the plant’s environment, most often to protect against predators and unfavourable weather conditions. When consumed or applied, studies have suggested that terpenes can arouse certain mental-emotional states.
When we work with aromas with intention, such as through wearing a fragrance, a form of speech takes place, shaping ourselves, with others Seen and Unseen, and potentially shaping our entire life. In other words, a perfume, if used with clarity and awareness, can have the potential to bring the change we want in our lives: we are harnessing the communicative properties of fragrances to engage in animist speech.
According to most perfumery conventions, aromas belong to scent families, and are categorized into four main categories, with each scent family further assigned (according to tradition) into subfamilies.
The 4 main scent families are
A scent family has distinctive characteristics and often individuals will gravitate towards one scent family over another when choosing personal fragrances. These preferences have often been understood purely from a biological olfactory-palate perspective, but in my work, I have noticed folks also are pulled by the energy network the aromatic plant belongs to.
Here’s a brief and general description of these scent families:
The floral scent family is one of the most common families for perfumes.
Energies / Energy Networks: youthfulness, romantic, sweet, innocent, open, curious, receptive, relational, maiden and mother/matron archetypes, part of the network of the water element.
The Opulent scent family consists of rich, spicy, heady, resinous scents.
Energies / Energy Networks: seductive, mysterious, sexy, sensual, contradicting, warming/heating, activating, prioritizing your voice, dark goddess, part of the network of the fire element.
The Woody scent family are usually earthy and invigorating.
Energies / Energy Networks: earthy, grounding, deep, natural, outdoorsy, structure / order, anchored, smoky or woody, bitter, leathery, resilient and trusting, uncompromising self / values, crone and warrior archetypes, part of the network of the earth element.
The Fresh scent family encompasses clean, bright, and briny scents.
Energies / Energy Networks: bright, refreshing, invigorating, expansive, optimistic yet boundaried, clarity, perceptive and precognitive, divinatory, deeply-knowing, envisioning, hermit and psychic archetypes, part of the network of the air element.
Prompts To Be More “Scentual”
In my Create Your Signature Healing Plant Fragrance self-study On-Demand E-course, I share some helpful guiding questions / prompts to gently help you discern how fragrances can support your own spiritual (and beyond) intentions. The prompts can also help select / hear which plants are calling to work with you, so that you can wear their scents as aromas, coupled with your own intentions the fragrance becomes an unbreakable spell.
- Instead of beginning with who you think you are, begin by asking yourself who you would like to be?
- What qualities, traits, gifts, and experiences do you want to behold and embody?
- What would the most powerful, joyous, liberated, and at ease version of you be?
- What parts of you have been denied?
- Peter J Carroll, occultist said, “A god denied becomes a demon.” What demons possess you?What god / divine within you would you like to affirm?
Ways to Continue to Work with Plant Magick
- Learn natural perfumery and make your own fragrance
In my self-study On-Demand E-Course, Create Your Signature Healing Plant Fragrance, I cover mixing scents from both a technical and magickal perspective, the importance of understanding base/mid/top notes when making attractive and efficacious perfumes, techniques around alcohol-based and oil-based fragrances, and more. From now until November 30, 2022, this e-course is 50% OFF. (No promocode needed).
- Make your own Scent-Sigil
If you’re in the Vancouver area (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm / Musqueam land) on December 1, 2022, join me at O5 Tea (2208 W4th) for The Magick of Tea (Special Edition): Scent Sigils, Tea + Chocolate Tasting. It will be a pleasure-forward evening where we explores scent in relationship to plant magick fragrance-making, Tea and their terpenes, and the aromatics in delicious, fine confections.
Learn about scent compounds, how the plant fragrance relates to energetics, and how to engage in aroma-based ritual work. Explore your inner needs, your scent preferences, and some of the plants and their terpenes that can support your whole-self as you blend your own bespoke botanical fragrance sigil to call in the energies you desire. Space is very limited for this event. Sign up HERE.
- Wear Tried-And-True Plant Magick Fragrances
If you’re short on time, explore Ceremonie’s Aura Care, which are comprised of tried-and-true Aura Mists, Energized Body Oils, and Anointing Parfums, all designed to fortify you against energetic misalignment, allowing you to support your life purpose, enhance your intuitive gifts, and call in that network of energies via aroma signals.
- Work with Scents Psychically
Are you someone who smells things that aren’t physically there? Are you confused by the paranormal scents you experience? Do you wish that you could make sense of the psychic scents you download, to use them as arcane wisdom, as protective warnings, or as allies in general? Do you yearn to develop this uncommon skill, to deepen your connection to Spirit and the Unseen realms?
Clairolfactance (clairolfaction) or psychic smelling is an intuitive, extra-sensory gift that isn’t as commonly discussed, yet, it is a powerful ability belonging to the intuitive, seer, witch, and mystic. Some intuitives use this to gain insight into events of the past, present and future. Others can smell warnings relating to health, people, or natural occurrences.
Learn how to harness this gift, including how to make meaning of scents, and how to further develop it in a helpful way via this self-study On-Demand E-Course, Psychic Smelling. From now until November 30, 2022, this e-course is 50% OFF. (No promocode needed).
- Practice Plant Magick in a Coven
Homing Coven is a coven of collaborative animist-esoteric practice, relational care, and the power of the communal.
Homing Coven mates will have the space to reinvigorate the meaning of building community, truly empower themselves and others through active animist-esoteric coven work, and compassionate co-care. Like a healthy home, the intention is to hold the energies of safety, connection, nourishment, rest and regeneration, and creating legacy in an inclusive and mutually responsible way. And YES, we will be working with PLANT ALLIES.
Sign up now and don’t pay until February 2023. Homing Coven begins February 2023, and early enrolments will receive FREE access to two activation celebrations on Winter Solstice (December 21, 2022) and Lunar New Year (January 22, 2023). More info HERE.
Mimi is an animist-spirit medium who works closely with common plants, forming allyship for Ceremonie’s Skin + Aura Care lines, in spellwork, in animist-occultic education, and in intuitive/psychic readings. More about Mimi HERE.