Dear Angelic Blog Buddies:
Some years ago I bought a book that is one of my favorites to this day. It is entitled: "If only you knew how much I smell you. True portraits of dogs."
I bought it because the title is a hoot and the dog on the cover looks just like my Jack Russell Terrier Jackie, who is now in heaven. The photographs are by Valerie Shaff and the text is by Roy Blount, Jr. Inside the book, Roy puts into words the thoughts of dogs, one of which is: "What does that mean "expensive shoe"? I ate it because it smelled like you. Next time you come home to find that your dog destroyed one of your favorite shoes, just remember that your dog loves you and your smell. So when you are not around, the next best thing is something that smells like you.
I am delighted to share that just recently while browsing a bookstore I came across another book by this dynamic duo entitled "I am puppy, hear me yap - The ages of dog."
The reason I am starting my blog with this sharing is because dogs really understand smelling and sniffing. We are all familiar with dogs that are trained to help police because they can sniff out drugs; and dogs that are trained to help the armed forces because they can sniff out bombs.
Native American wisdom conveys that animals are our teachers. By their example, animals teach us to use the gifts that God has given us. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and they use it. I read recently where a scientist has been working with a dog in developing the dog's sense of smell ability to smell cancer.
Animals convey to us that the sense of smell is important and we should be consciously smelling.
Think for a moment about your favorite smells. A few of my favorite smells are baked bread, lilacs, the ocean, fresh brewed coffee; fields with freshly mowed hay, honeysuckle, roses, puppies, pine trees, and holiday wassail punch. Some of you may share with me the memory of the smell of mimeographing machines? Doug Larson wrote, "Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."
"Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived." - Helen Keller.
Sometimes we remember people because of fragrances. Many times when people experience the presence of the Blessed Mother they not only have a feeling experience of her presence, but also experience the scent of roses.
Think about fragrances worn by family members. I remember one of my Mom's fragrances was Evening in Paris; my Dad wore Old Spice. You can think of someone in heaven and immediately smell their smell. Sometimes when a loved one dies, we don't want to part with their clothing because we can hold an item they wore and be able to smell the person. Smell fills our lives with powerful experiences.
And what fragrances have you worn in your life? In high school one of the fragrances I liked was Heaven Scent. I also remember wearing Ambush. I remember when I made my first visit to New Orleans, I discovered two wonderful shops and an abundance of new fragrances. Hove Parfumeur is one of the shops, and the other is Bourbon French Parfums - a 165 year old perfumery. It was established in 1845 by August Dussan. New Orleans is such a sensual city. Good smells, good music, and good foods.
There are smells we love because of the work that we do. It's always wonderful when I teach my Anointing class and we pass around the essential oils for everyone to smell. By the end of the class, everyone is in a bliss state from the aromas. I'm sure carpenters like the smell of wood. Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying, "I like the smell of film. I just like knowing there's film going through the camera."
Life is filled with so much to love and be grateful for. I love the fragrance of flowers. The beautiful and abundantly talented actress and singer Lena Horne recently died. She once said, "It's so nice to get flowers while you can still smell the fragrance." She's right. Lets give each other flowers, and also give ourselves flowers while we can smell them.
Stop and smell not only the roses but all the flowers that cross your path. Stop and do an "open nose" meditation where you smell all the good smells of nature.
For those of you who live on the East Coast and are able to get yourself to Longwood Gardens, I highly recommend their first major exhibition. It is: Making Scents, The Art and Passion of Fragrance. It's on view through November 21, 2010. Longwood Gardens is in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
The exhibition is divided into four major section: Into a Fragrant World; The Art of Perfume and Fragrant Gardens; The Science of Fragrance; and Your Fragrant Garden.
The exhibit explores the sense of smell and how scent molecules send signals to the brain that trigger moods, emotions and memories. Olfactory neurons in the nose are stimulated by approximately 10,000 different odor molecules. Human beings are instinctually hard-wired to respond to smell, but individual reactions to particular scents can be experiential, based on culture and personal experience, such as the scent of cinnamon evoking joyful memories of family gatherings, or the fragrance of lilies acting as a poignant reminder of a loss.
Early in my spiritual studies, one of my teachers taught me to carry with me a fragrance that stimulated my mind with its positive aroma. I was taught that whenever my spirit or energy was spiraling downward, I was to stop and smell the fragrance. The fragrance activates a part of my brain that then motivates me to move forward with hopefulness and conviction to fulfilling my goals. Yes, it is important to think positive thoughts; however, positive smelling is really healing.
In my booklet ANGELIC FENG SHUI - 101 Ways to Make Your Home Heaven on Earth, I share how your home is your safe haven; sanctuary/sacred space. With the use of the fragrance of flowers, essential oils and incense we can raise the energy of our homes and purify the space.
Beginning with Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt, 3500 years ago people have set out on expeditions to collect fragrant plants in far away lands. Humanity has been seeking fragrant smells for a long time.
In 2000 BCE camels were domesticated and replaced donkeys on long journeys. Donkeys were slower and easily dehydrated. Camels were able to go longer distances. Because of this a new era and road was born: the incense route.
In 1850 BCE some of the world's earliest perfumes were distilled in Cyprus and were created by mixing extracts of anise, pine, coriander, bergamot, almond, and parsley with olive oil. In 2005 archaeologists uncovered what are believed to be the world's oldest perfumes in Pyrgos, Cyprus. The perfumes date back more than 4,000 years. The perfumes were discovered in an ancient perfumery. At least 60 stills, mixing bowls, funnels and perfume bottles were found in the 43,000 square foot factory.
1500 to 1400 BCE, Egyptians were using a perfume called Kyphi, a blend of 16 ingredients including honey, myrrh, juniper berries with wine.
1400 BCE - Exodus. God instructs Moses on how to construct the Altar of Incense. This altar was placed in The Holy Tabernacle. It was made from acacia wood. Moses was given the recipe for a special blend of pure incense that only the High Priest could create and use.
62 to 79 AD Pompeii - Decorative wall paintings show cupids making and selling perfume.
1100 AD - Salerno, Italy becomes the first great scientific center of Europe. The physician Salernus, influenced by the work of earlier Arab alchemists and by their invention of an alembic (an apparatus used for distilling), discovers the process for distilling alcohol for medicinal and pharmaceutical purposes.
1190 AD The Guild of Artisan Perfume and Glovemakers is chartered by King Philippe Auguste and reconfirmed by French Kings in the next six centuries. Napoleon I will be the one who will allow perfumers to work independently of glovemakers.
1370 AD The Queen of Hungary's Water - the first alchoholic perfume, scented with rosemary, is created.
1533 AD - Catherine de Medici of Florence travels to France to marry Henry II, and brings along her perfumer, Rene the Florentine (Renato Bianco) and her knowledge of Italian perfumery. Italian perfumery had assimilated exotic ingredients from the spice trade and was the most advanced in the world. Rene's laboratory was connected with Catherine's apartments by a secret passageway so that no formulas could be stolen en route.
1709 Gian Paolo Feminis, creates the first authentic eau de cologne called Aqua Mirabilis (Miracle Water). He moves to the German town of Cologne. In the 1750's the scent is discovered by French soldiers who bring it back to France and the new fragrance term "eau de cologne".
1715-1744 During King Louis XV's reign, perfumes are so much in demand that etiquette requires the use of a different fragrance each day at the Perfumed Court of Versailles.
1760 - 1798 The great perfume houses of Houbigant, Lubin, Chiris, Fargeon and Dissy are established. Some of these houses continued to produce fragrances into the early 20th century.
Mid 1800's The emergence of organic chemistry. In 1889 Guerlain creates Jicky - the first modern perfume to use synthetics.
1921 Coco Chanel launches Chanel No. 5. This is the beginning of perfume being seen as a modern art form and joined with the world of fashion design.
Fragrance is truly an art form. It has been described as a musical metaphor having three sets of notes, making the harmonious scent accord. The three notes are:
Top Notes also called head notes. The scents that are perceived immediately on application of a perfume. Top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person's initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of a perfume.
Middle Notes. The scent of a perfume that emerges just prior to when the top notes dissipate. The middle note compounds form the heart or main body of a perfume and acts to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. They are also called the heart notes.
Base notes. The scent of a perfume that appears close to the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and deep and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after application.
Dick Clark said that each of us has a soundtrack to our life. That soundtrack is made up of songs that we have loved through our life. We also have a smell track, made up of fragrances and scents that have touched our souls through our noses.
Take time to honor the gift of smell. Take time to appreciate the aromas, fragrances, scents and bouquets of your life.