collapse
2019 Donation Drive

It's time for our annual Server Donation Drive! We need to raise at least $650 (same as last year) to keep The Cauldron's server online for another year. Please help! Either hit that Paypal button to the right and make a one-time donation in any amount or set up a monthly Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor subscription. You can find more info in this message!

Donations as of 24 Aug 2019: $260 donated. Only $390 more needed to reach our minimum goal!


Note: This total is updated manually, usually once a day


Author Topic: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense  (Read 936 times)

Eastling

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2016
  • Location: Seattle
  • Posts: 484
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 307
  • Love and be free.
    • View Profile
    • Mystermercury
  • Religion: Dionysian pop culture paganism and heretical Judaism
  • Preferred Pronouns: He/him/his
Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« on: November 11, 2018, 01:24:34 pm »
Perfumes and incense have a longstanding role in religion. Directions for which incense to use for each prayer survive along with the Orphic Hymns; the Egyptian Bast, famous for her association with cats, was also a goddess of perfume. That's just a couple examples.

How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
--JAMES ALAN GARDNER

Eastling

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2016
  • Location: Seattle
  • Posts: 484
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 307
  • Love and be free.
    • View Profile
    • Mystermercury
  • Religion: Dionysian pop culture paganism and heretical Judaism
  • Preferred Pronouns: He/him/his
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2018, 01:42:18 pm »
How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?

Full disclosure: I made this post to talk about my new devotional perfume. I'll get to that in a moment.

I've been using perfume and incense in my practice since before I knew which Powers I was worshiping. I have always found that incense seems to attract them with the smoke and scent it emits. This is a little more difficult now that I live with a roommate who tends to be very sensitive to smells, so I've learned to be careful to get only high-quality incense. For this purpose I've found that Japanese incense is especially good, particularly Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, both of which burn cleanly and have many scents available. I will usually burn a stick of this whenever I feel like I want to draw the attention of my Powers.

Perfume is a slightly different story; this, I've found, I need to wear for any major devotional rituals to mark myself as closer to my gods. To that end I recently ordered a custom perfume from an online seller. Its notes reflect both the Hellenic aspects of my path as well as its more modern aspects:

Honey - famously offered to "the mistress of the labyrinth" in pre-Hellenic Crete, as well as many other gods around the same time. Honey was also vital to Freddie Mercury during concert performances when he would absolutely wreck his vocal cords and relied on honeyed tea to soothe them.
Pomegranate - the fruit of Persephone; in combination with the honey it lends a faint boozy smell to the perfume, appropriate for my Dionysian roots. There's also an obscure quote from Freddie Mercury where he comments that after he's dead, "I'll be starting a new life somewhere else--growing my own pomegranates." Whether that was a random word choice or a specific callback to the Persephone myth...we will never know.
Narcissus - the flower that lured the Kore to the underworld; also referenced in the lyrics of "I'm Going Slightly Mad," which was written by Freddie Mercury and remains one of my favorite Queen songs.
Catnip - Freddie really loved cats, which those of you who have seen the movie should know by now.

Those are the predominant notes; there's also white musk for purity and a hint of bonfire smoke to evoke the smoky environs of a concert stage full of special effects and machinery.
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
--JAMES ALAN GARDNER

Yei

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: May 2012
  • Posts: 546
  • Country: au
  • Total likes: 133
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Mexica Reconstructionism
  • Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 06:24:54 pm »
Perfumes and incense have a longstanding role in religion. Directions for which incense to use for each prayer survive along with the Orphic Hymns; the Egyptian Bast, famous for her association with cats, was also a goddess of perfume. That's just a couple examples.

How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?

I'd say that incense is the most important and ubiquitous offering in the Mesoamerican ritual repertoire. In Central Mexico this incense took the form of copal, which comes in several varieties, and was burned at every ritual. This is because copal is effectively blood, though from plants rather than animals. Furthermore, the smoke produced by burning incense resembles spirit or breath, and so can more reach the divine realm of the gods.

However, I am unable to use them at the moment, as smoking is forbidden in my apartment and the smoke would set off the alarms. It makes maintaining a basic ritual schedule very difficult.

Chatelaine

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 710
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 45
  • Metaphors be with you.
    • View Profile
    • Are We There Yet?
  • Religion: Eastern Orthodox Christian
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2018, 07:51:21 pm »
How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?

Incense is an integral element of Orthodox worship. The smoke symbolises prayer, so it is used at all services and encouraged for home prayer as well. Liturgical incense takes the form of frankincense resin pellets (in northern countries, where frankincense was extra hard and expensive to come by, pine resin is often used), burned on charcoal in a handheld censer - the priest uses a thurible on long chains with bells on, and swinging it effectively takes a lot of skill (like this).

The resin is often infused with more layers of fragrance, often using quite complex secret recipes. It is manufactured in monasteries, especially those of Mount Athos. Floral varieties, especially rose, are popular, as are variations of the 'Byzantine' or 'Imperial' blends. St Cyprian's black incense is often used in rites of exorcism, including against the evil eye.

Burning proper incense is a rewarding addition to prayer, but it's fiddly and time-consuming, so I only use it on Sundays and feast days, and in general when I can get down to a service of more than 5-10 minutes. For those short bouts, I use incense sticks. I like a lot of the Anne Stokes/Elements range, especially Oak King (white sage) and Angel Rose, as well as Maroma Fern & Moss.

Wearable fragrances don't really matter, except in the sense of being a bad idea for church, because it can get hot and stuffy in there even without a dozen different perfumes mixing with the incense!
'You created us restless, O Lord, and we find no rest until we rest in You.'
~St Augustine~
Whole blog o' nonsense: Are We There Yet?

Sefiru

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Location: In the walls
  • Posts: 1676
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 334
    • View Profile
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2018, 07:03:29 pm »
Incense is an integral element of Orthodox worship.

It's pretty important in Kemetic practice, too; it represents divine presence. I don't use it myself, though, because strong smells grate on my senses. I tried for a while, but I also had the problem that instead of meditating, I ended up waiting for the incense stick to burn down.

Louisvillian

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: May 2013
  • Posts: 388
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 46
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Syncretic religio romana/Hellenised Romano-British religion
  • Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2018, 12:35:13 am »
How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?
I use a mix of scented and unscented candles, for instance, to create a certain atmosphere and ambience. The right smell in the air, like the scent of crisp apples, can get a certain mood in me that's conducive for ritual.

Incense is something I use regularly, nearly in every ritual. It is the main form of offering I make, and historically was the most common kind of offering in ancient Roman religion. I primarily use store-bought stick incense, due to its ease of storage, use, and cleanup. But I do have a small stockpile of cone incense and resin nuggets.

LaughingCrow

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Dec 2018
  • Location: Charleston, WV
  • Posts: 11
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 5
    • View Profile
    • Laughing Crow's Art
  • Religion: Neopagan
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2018, 04:49:30 am »
However, I am unable to use them at the moment, as smoking is forbidden in my apartment and the smoke would set off the alarms. It makes maintaining a basic ritual schedule very difficult.

Have you seen any of the interesting 'backflow' incense? It pools down into the censer instead of rising up in the air. I don't know if that would work but you could definitely try it.

Here's what I'm talking about: http://www.incensewarehouse.com/Backflow-Incense-_c_1234.html

IceAngie

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Location: Bahía Blanca
  • Posts: 454
  • Country: ar
  • Total likes: 26
    • View Profile
    • Magia espiritual femenina
  • Religion: Religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she, her, hers
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2018, 07:02:33 am »
How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?

I use incense sticks as offerings. Frankincense usually, but sometimes Myrrh or a scent related to the deity I'm worshipping or working with. I also use incense sticks to achieve a purpose, but I like to burn pure incense or herbs more, according to what I want to achieve.

I use Violet perfume in my rituals, but lately I'm using Coconut everywhere: shampoo, conditioner for hair, soap, incense sticks. I get the feeling someone is calling, but I still don't know who.

Holdasown

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Dec 2011
  • Location: West Virginia
  • Posts: 398
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 7
    • View Profile
    • Blog
  • Religion: Norse/Germanic Polytheists
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2018, 10:56:54 am »
How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?

I make incense and smoke cleanse my home.

Ashmire

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: May 2017
  • Posts: 318
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 97
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Eclectic, featuring mainly East Asian and Egyptian plus pop-cultural influences
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2019, 10:53:02 pm »
Full disclosure: I made this post to talk about my new devotional perfume. I'll get to that in a moment.

I've been using perfume and incense in my practice since before I knew which Powers I was worshiping. I have always found that incense seems to attract them with the smoke and scent it emits. This is a little more difficult now that I live with a roommate who tends to be very sensitive to smells, so I've learned to be careful to get only high-quality incense. For this purpose I've found that Japanese incense is especially good, particularly Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, both of which burn cleanly and have many scents available. I will usually burn a stick of this whenever I feel like I want to draw the attention of my Powers.

Perfume is a slightly different story; this, I've found, I need to wear for any major devotional rituals to mark myself as closer to my gods. To that end I recently ordered a custom perfume from an online seller. Its notes reflect both the Hellenic aspects of my path as well as its more modern aspects:

So, I ended up getting myself a custom devotional scent from the same seller---given that the name of the shop sort of applies to me in another context, how could I not?  ;D Aa--nnd...now I'm here to ramble and brag on it a bit, I guess. 

It does seem to illustrate a pattern I find I run into a lot when designing ritual things---I think maybe it happens this way because that's the only way to overcome my overly skeptical guilt-ridden upbringing, but basically, I pick a bunch of stuff in a state of flow, then briefly panic because I can't really see any historical justification for all this stuff and maybe it's all nonsense, then do more research and find out, actually, it DOES all fit quite well.  These weren't totally out of nowhere, but most previous associations I knew of were pretty definitely UPG-only.  They still might be a little loose for tying to Bruce Lee personally, but apparently I managed to evoke Hong Kong reasonably well.

Star Anise An early experience of him as my patron involved being nudged around the local Asian markets until I finally identified this as the strongest component of "Asian Market Smell" (and the scent I had often noticed clinging to non-food packages from China as well), and got the message to include it in the ritual meal I was preparing. ( This will definitely make a stir-fry much tastier).  After I ordered my perfume and had my momentary freak-out, I also learned it is a native plant to Hong Kong and Southern China.

Galangal Another request, though not as clear---but it is another home-grown Cantonese cooking ingredient with an incredibly delightful scent.

Dragonsblood Now here is where I really started second-guessing myself and feared I might be totally off the rails.  Was there any possible justification other than having a dragon in the name?  Turns out there is.  While most occult/witchy references to this are talking about an Arabic tree, that tree is actually extremely endangered and has been for a very long time, so when you buy Dragonsblood resin today, you are actually getting---yet more Native Flora Of Hong Kong & Southern China, which has there been traditionally used to make official seals( which are imitated for occult purposes), New Year's decorations, and as a wax or varnish for traditional Chinese wooden furniture.   
So I'm guessing that's also going to be a familiar scent there, or something that once was so.  They don't call it Incense Bay for nothing.

Oolong tea We're on a bit firmer ground now.  Bruce Lee was absolutely a regular tea drinker, and this is pretty much the default tea of choice in Hong Kong and most of China.  Also, the name literally means "Crow-Dragon", so we get to honor father and son both in the name.

Ozone and Petrichor( geosmin) This one actually makes total sense on many levels, but ( being apparently behind the times) I didn't realize it was actually possible to add to perfume.  Chinese dragons are traditionally wielders of rain and lightning, and this particular Dragon ( besides being often compared to lightning) was known to express a fondness for outdoor workouts (or just plain outdoor existence) in the rain and to speak especially wistfully of running through the streets of Hong Kong in the rain.  After seeming to catch a bit of an aside from him on the topic, I looked it up and discovered that Hong Kong gets an average of 3 times the annual rainfall of Seattle, which in turn gets about 3 times the rain of where I live.  There can't be too many people who express a sense of homesickness due to the *lack* of rain in Seattle, but that seems to be the feeling I get from him.  Either way it's a perfect scent to include.
 

Scales

  • Master Member
  • ******
  • Join Date: Nov 2013
  • Location: BC
  • Posts: 373
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 5
    • View Profile
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 02:50:24 am »
How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?

I avoid scents, my husband is asthmatic and incense especially sets him off (probably because he grew up catholic and it got set off by the thuribles so many times), but I do still use them.

* this turned into a list for some reason, hope it's still interesting while not really being a discussion at all

For the above reason, I almost never use incense, and when I have to for an offering or something, I go outside and enjoy it mixed with the fresh air. If I really need smoke cleansing indoors, I air out everything for a long time afterwards, and that generally isn't enough. That all is to say, I use incense incredibly sparingly, since it is such a production

I've started using an oil diffuser (the cold steam kind) for basic 'maintenance' cleansing/purification of the home, but it also works for ritual and meditation ambience  and probably other things I haven't explored yet. I thought this would set of allergies/asthma, but we were fine with the one at my parents' house, so we got one, and it's going well.

I don't particularly use nor avoid scented candles, but when I use them, I make certain the scent is appropriate for whatever I'm doing with them, or whoever they're being offered to.

I use perfumes and so on sometimes as part of ritual garb, and also in relation to glamours. I'd like to find a scent I'd wear devotionally, but don't know any I'd do so with right now.

I use various other scented things to engage my senses, various elements, etc.

PerditaPickle

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Aug 2015
  • Location: UK
  • Posts: 727
  • Country: england
  • Total likes: 133
  • What is this Personal Text then...?
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Druidry-leaning learner
  • Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2019, 05:40:59 pm »



I don't use it myself, though, because strong smells grate on my senses.

I'm the same, incense actually makes me feel a bit sick, and perfume gives me a headache - I used to spritz it in my hair (as I can't wear it on my skin due to sensitivity), but then discovered I can't tolerate that either.

Have you seen any of the interesting 'backflow' incense?.

I made a thread about this, it looks so cool, but decided against buying any based on others' feedback.

Ozone and Petrichor( geosmin) This one actually makes total sense on many levels, but ( being apparently behind the times) I didn't realize it was actually possible to add to perfume.

Petrichor, my favourite smell - I didn't realise you could add to perfume either, but I've no idea what I could possibly blend it with which would a) blend well and b) be tolerable to me.

I avoid scents, my husband is asthmatic and incense especially sets him off

My husband's not asthmatic but he does have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell, so I can barely get away with anything.

In view of all the above, I've settled on the use of essential oils instead to date (which my husband still isn't keen on) - finally getting around to posting in this tread does remind me that some really useful suggestions had been made in my Backflow Incense thread which I shall have to revisit for ideas.

[Edit: corrected a typo]
"If I get on, Susan thought, it'll all start again.  I'll be out of the light and into the world beyond this one.  I'll fall off the tightrope.
But a voice inside her said, You want to, though...don't you...?
Ten seconds later, there was only the snow."
(Terry Pratchett's Hogfather)

Shewhoseeks

  • Apprentice
  • ***
  • Join Date: Mar 2017
  • Posts: 29
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2019, 08:43:06 am »
Perfumes and incense have a longstanding role in religion. Directions for which incense to use for each prayer survive along with the Orphic Hymns; the Egyptian Bast, famous for her association with cats, was also a goddess of perfume. That's just a couple examples.

How do perfumes, incense, and other scents fit into your practice, if you use them?

Kemetic here:

As a goddess related to perfume and scent I can also mention Hatmehyt, matron of ancient Mendesian perfumery, Lady of Myrrh and “the one who makes perfume from festivals” (reference to one of the sacred (aromatic) oils in Ancient Egypt).

Scent in general is not only a way to communicate with the Gods, it is also a way of attracting their presence, also of attuning myself to them during worship. It then depends on the type of aromatic substance what further effect it may have added to it:
Myrrh, frankincense, kyphi, cist rose resin, different herbs...

And then we have anointing oils (currently I use blue water lily absolute diluted in a carrier oil) and perfume itself. Anointing my icon is part of my practice and putting on perfume with specific intent is to me a step towards a certain degree of purity.

Worship without aromatics is not possible for me. Their liturgical and spiritual importance are high in my practice.





Darkhawk

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4815
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 693
    • View Profile
    • Suns in her Branches
  • Religion: An American Werewolf in the Akhet; Kemetic; Feri; Imaginary Baltic Heathen; Discordian; CoX; Etc.
  • Preferred Pronouns: any of he, she, they
Re: Heaven-Scent: use of perfumes & incense
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 02:11:44 pm »
Scent in general is not only a way to communicate with the Gods, it is also a way of attracting their presence, also of attuning myself to them during worship. It then depends on the type of aromatic substance what further effect it may have added to it:
Myrrh, frankincense, kyphi, cist rose resin, different herbs...

This is a good place to throw in one of my favorite Egyptian language facts:

The Egyptian word for incense, "senetjer", is repeatedly punned upon as "sen netjer", which means "brother of god".
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
6 Replies
1689 Views
Last post August 23, 2011, 10:43:33 pm
by Aubrey_Rose
2 Replies
750 Views
Last post July 12, 2012, 12:57:36 am
by SatAset
2 Replies
730 Views
Last post June 16, 2014, 08:37:20 pm
by stephyjh
3 Replies
2317 Views
Last post February 18, 2016, 01:27:16 am
by SunflowerP
8 Replies
2038 Views
Last post September 11, 2016, 09:35:38 am
by entwife

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 33
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall