Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with creating a manifesto reflecting wonders, curiosities, and delights currently captivating me – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
O is for…
osmatic (oz-mat-ik) – having or characterized by a well-developed sense of smell; a keen sense of smell; depending chiefly on the sense of smell for orientation
The nose knows it’s the scenter of your face.
Humans can detect at least one trillion different smells. Amazing isn’t it?! It’s also true that our olfactory palettes are forged by many things, including particularities and peculiarities of our noses, personal preferences, and even early childhood memories. We all experience scents slightly differently, based on a combination of individual sensitivities.
Scent is hugely important to me. One of my passions is as an aromatherapist and natural perfumer and not only do I delight in using my nose to sniff the world, but I most especially enjoy wearing natural fragrances. My home is fragrant as well. I love nothing more than bouquets of flowers brightening and scenting up the place. I use incense and essential oils as both offerings and in my meditations. And of course I’m always spritzing my auric sprays around – I do love a feel-good-energy-shift.
That’s really what I love about fragrance – the ability to transport; to delight; to deepen; to lighten.
The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. As Lewis Thomas so cogently puts it:
“The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking. Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work, sending the odor around from place to place, setting off complex repertories through the brain, polling one center after another for signs of recognition, for old memories and old connection. ”
Scent can certainly be the way into old memories, but it can be a reminder of other things as well.
I’m particularly charmed by the Chinese proverb:
“A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.”
I certainly like the idea of that. In the giving, much is received as well. As a reminder I have this little card propped up in my studio. I scented the paper with a beautiful Bulgarian rose essential oil and the hieroglyphics are my name Deborah.
Our natural world is very fragrant, and I’m very much not a fan of artificial scents, chemical-laden, petroleum-based products. And although I absolutely love wearing natural perfumes, I’m never a fan of overpowering scents. Perfume is for me; it’s a very personal experience – for the joy it gives me, or the spiritual and/or vibrational blessing. Like so much about me, if you really want to know me (and my perfume) you need to lean in close.
In my training both as an aromatherapist and a natural perfumer, keeping journals was (and still is) a critical, and fun, part of the work. Here’s a peek at the page in one of my early journals where I was beginning my exploration of Helichrysum.
My favorite part of the page is the white strip under the name at the top right. That’s a fragrance test strip. They’re used to dip into the essential oil and you sniff the strip rather than from the bottle. They’re particularly helpful when you’re evaluating blends because you want to be able to see how a fragrance develops over time. The first top note isn’t the whole story. Test strips are also a good way to simply train your nose as well, and I love keeping them on journal pages where I can see a photo and catch a hint of scent as well.
Another training tool, and fun continued practice, is to keep a scent diary, listing the scents of the day. For a while I used a fabulous stash of vintage library card stock. You can see an example of the card near the top of this post.
I rejoice in being a strongly osmatic creature, able to deeply appreciate the scents around me; and I want to add my own fragrance to the medley as well.
What about you? Do you have a favorite fragrance? Do you use essential oils? Have a favorite scent-related memory? Do tell – you know I love to hear.