Wednesday, October 23, 2013

31 Days of Inspired Holidays: day 23: Smell

In my mind a good Holiday celebration appeals to and stimulates all senses. The sensory experience of a feast is a huge part of creating memories.

It is also the only way you can separate reality from movies and internet... those appeal only to eyes and ears. You can't feel the softness of a pretty afghan in a movie, you can't taste the delicious looking pie or smell the glorious flowers of a nice decorating photo on the Pinterest. You have to experience that in "real life".

This is very important and a big reason to why you should bother at least a bit and actually do SOMETHING to hallow the Sabbaths.

So, how to appeal and stimulate your sense of smell?

"Smell is the sense most linked to our emotional recollection. It can create instant connections between a brand and other memories. Neuromarketing studies show that 75% of emotions are triggered by smell. Smell is linked to pleasure and wellbeing, emotion and memory. We remember just 1% of what we touch, 2% of what we hear, 5% of what we see, 15% of what we taste and 35% of what we smell."

To me the smell of Samhain is obviously the pumpkin pie spices and gingerbread spices :-D
But also the smell of wet soil and dying leaves, the crisp frost in the wind, the smell of cold water by the lake... The hint of snow...

Other people think about caramel apples; pumpkin and other root vegetables (not that they have much scent); butter and brown sugar, maple sugar; acorns, almond and nuts; woody scents; smoke... naturally the traditional foods one prepares for Samhain.
Here's some "Halloween Scents"

Most Samhain insences are tree based.

Bay leaves - leaves of several laurels and myrtles.
Resin of benzoin tree
Oil of camphor laurel
Cedar, cypress, pine, sandalwood
Copal and Amber are both tree resins.
Eucalyptus leaves
Frankincense or olibanum, resin from Boswellia trees.
Myrrh is also a resin. These trees one gets insence are called "frankincense and myrrh trees" or "incense trees".
Mastic is a resin obtained from the mastic tree.
Ylang-Ylang is an aromatic oil from the cananga tree's flowers.

Frankly, I would add Juniper to the list.

Artemisia family (mugwort, sagewort, wormwood and tarragon) might be associated with Samhain because of their magical qualities, their association with Artemis or because of their bitter scent with wood-y character. Or because they have sort of wood-y stalks.

Heather is a plant that typically flowers late autumn (and has a wood-like stem)

Lavender is to me typical "old lady scent" (and also has a bit of wood-like stem.)

Yarrow, a wood-y stalked plant used in divination.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice and/or cloves are pumpkin pie and gingerbread spices. In the German gingerbread spice, Lebkuchengew├╝rz, there's also coriander, cardamon and mace, sometimes even aniseed and black pepper, and sometimes citrus scents, orange, lemon, bitter orange (pomerange) and bergamot, but I don't associate citrus to Samhain and autumn, as they get ripe in time to Yule and Imbolc, and also as they are - to me - symbols of sun and summer.
Cinnamon, nutmeg and mace, cloves, allspice and black pepper, are all spices that we get from trees.

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