Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections on a lexicon (vocabulary specific to a certain subject) of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words. Ludic is defined as “playful, in an aimless way” and that’s my plan for approaching this challenge – keeping my feet on the joy trail and meandering wherever the daily word takes me.
U is for…
unguentary – of, like or pertaining to unguents; one who makes or sells unguents
Earlier in this challenge I posted about an extensive fragrance project I’m working on, and today’s word is an example of something I’m doing lots of research on, as well as creating.
I love the Chinese proverb
“A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.”
While I often think about that when I’m working with flowers or creating perfumes, it really helps me attune to the spirit of generosity and gratitude. I feel so blessed working with so many fragrant materials.
Unguents are generally defined as soft greasy or viscous substances used as an ointment or for lubrication. They are often soothing preparations used for medicinal purposes, delivered as a semi-solid paste spread on the skin with the medication or other active ingredients suspended and blended within.
But solid perfumes (also known as cream perfumes) are also considered unguents. Rather than the perfume ingredients being contained in alcohol or water, unguents use a base of wax, often mixed with an oil, to which the fragrant ingredients are added.
As a natural perfumer and bee lover, I love creating cream perfumes using beeswax. So perhaps you can imagine my excitement and anticipated delight in creating the unguent cones of ancient Egypt.
Throughout their ages and kingdoms, ancient Egypt was always a highly scented culture. In addition to their incense, they were well-known for their fragrant unguents, used for medicinal, sensual, but primarily sacred purposes. There are many examples of the beautiful unguent vessels of varying materials they used for storage.
Ancient Egyptian art is filled with images of men and women wearing perfume unguent cones on their heads. They are pictured being worn in banqueting and festival scenes, as well as sacred and funerary occasions.
I look at these ancient depictions and I feel such a deep sense of connection with the sacred. I can’t help but think of Rumi’s beautiful words:
“By speech, by silence, and by fragrance, catch the scent of the Beloved everywhere.“
So what do you think? Would it delight you to wear a perfumed cone on your head? Have a particular fragrance you especially love? Do tell – you know I love to hear.