On Sunday, a friend stated, “May really is the month of smells.” She’s right. Lilac, chestnut, crabapple, and others hand us an olfactory cornucopia at this time of year. Smell is a sense that is very old. It connects us to the more ancient parts of the brain. It’s certainly a big memory springboard for me. Potatoes and onions in a pan take me right to Grandma Moses’ kitchen. Plumeria whisks me to Hawaii at age 10.
A few years ago, Mary Greer wrote The Essence of Magic (alas, out of print) a book that combined tarot with aromatherapy and ritual. She also created a set of Major Arcana essential oils that were fantastic. She no longer does them, but I still have mine. There’s something about mingling scent with image that really cements a tarot session (or any other insight process) into my consciousness, thereby helping me to enter into the experience of change more powerfully. Maybe that’s why I like incense in my devotions. I often begin my day with morning recitations accompanied by a smudging of sage then sweetgrass, followed by my card for the day. My nose knows what’s good!