Warning: This entry is going to get sappy, and a little hippy-esque. I apologize in advance.
Another crafty-witch blogged about working on some batches of incense, and I found it amusing. I spent a good portion of the last couple of days working out recipes, and making small test-runs myself. Among these were funerary and necromantic blends, as well as those focused on keeping secrets, consecrating magickal books, and honoring land spirits.
Scent is a weird thing for me. I absolutely adore incense, but cannot stand (and am occasionally physically repelled) by some synthetic scents. Scent, however, is strongly attached to memory for all people - and for someone who has an exceedingly poor memory, it can be magick.
While creating some new recipes, I caught a momentary blend of scents that sent me rushing back to the first time I ever entered an Occult store.
I was in my very, very, early teens. I had a book (probably one by Cunningham) tucked under my arm. With my then-best-friend, and we were browsing incenses. At this time everything was experimental, and tentative. Everything was awkward and I found myself constantly second-guessing not only my intuition, but the material in books. But in that store, surrounded by the mingling scents of Nag Champa incense, patchouli oil, and old books - Magick was alive, real, and palpable. We selected blends designed to evoke the elements - I still have several cones of that incense (Escential Essences "Mystic Forest").
I was never "allowed" to burn incense at home. Which meant that all of my rituals were conducted late at night with a bedroom window open, so that the wafting scent of Magick would not spread through the ductwork and get me a stern yelling-at. To this day there is a secret pleasure in incense. Being able to burn it freely and nearly constantly during my eight month stint out of state was ecstasy! When I light a coal, or punk* magick fills the air with the scent, because what is to follow will be a secret, sacred, joy.
So, while I huddle around The Table Of Doom, rolling cones of "Faun of The Hollow" or beating the scent from Juniper Berries, I revel in the scents flowing up and around me - soaking my skin and hair. They take me back to my roots, to my first spells. To the time when all my magick was sneaking, swift, and clandestine. When it was all new, and filled with secrets.
*Punks are incense sticks, made by dipping "scentless" moulded sticks into oils dissolved in solvents i.e. ALL stick incense. Cones are "punks" as well, manufactured the same way.