Paganism in Utah — SLUG Magazine, Issue 43.

Pagans of Utah: July 1992


Spells & Smells: Part II

This is the second in a two-part series on spellcraft using things that smell good. Now that you’ve been made aware of some of the basic protocols around magic and spellcraft, we’ll move on to some of the more creative aspects of working with your nose to change your consciousness.

First of all, forget much of what I told you last month. Magic is an intuitive process, and I, as well as most pagans I know, make it up as I go along. What’s most important to remember is the rule of three: whatever you put out there comes back to you three times. So it’s important that you carefully and clearly ponder your objectives before you begin your process.

Another thing that’s important to keep in mind is that whatever you do affects the universe in which you live. For me, that means being careful to use only natural botanical essences—never those products which are made from synthetic substances. Most synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum; I neither want to put them on my body nor to encourage such misuse of Earth’s resources. While natural essential oils do tend to be more expensive than the cheap shit you a buy at the local bath shop, they are readily available at such places as Gypsy Moon and New Frontiers. One sniff will tell you that whatever the price, it’s worth it.

Many pagans develop a system of correspondences to help them figure out which smells to use for which kinds of purposes. My own system is based on the four elemental energies earth, air, fire and water. Each of these elementals are associated with certain directions, colors, energies, and scents. Deriding of the desired effects, I then utilize scents associated with these elemental qualities. My system is my personal system; what has meaning for me may or may not have meaning for you. However, it is useful as an illustration of how such a system can be developed.

Earth is generally associated with North. The colors associated with this element are green and brown. For me, Earth energies produce the sense of being grounded on the Earth and relate to the material plane. Scents such as vetyver, patchouli, deer’s tongue and oak moss are associated with Earth. I utilize these scents to feel more grounded as well as to help me realize my ideas and dreams into physical reality.

Air is generally associated with East. The colors associated with this element are yellow and white. For me, the intellect is associated with Air. Sandalwood, lavender, clary sage, copal and cedar are all associated with Air within my own system, and I use these scents to help clarify my thinking.

Fire is generally associated with South. The colors associated with fire are red and orange, and for me, this element is related to passion and excitement. I associate a wide variety of scents with fire, including cinnamon, clove, carnation, frankincense, neroli (orange flower), and all manner of citrus. I use these scents to give me an energy boost, as well as to make myself feel more attractive.

Water is generally associated with West. For me, this element is associated with matters of the heart and renewal. Many of the more common flower scents are associated with water, including jasmine, rose, and ylang-ylang, as well as some roots, like orris root. I utilize these scents when I am depressed to help process my sadness, and also when I want to feel romantic or sentimental.

Again, my associations may or may not work for you. What’s important is that you develop a set of meaningful associations for yourself and then experiment to find what works best for your own purpose. The way I got started was to acquire a number of high quality essential oils and smell them in a controlled environment to determine how they worked for me. It is important to work with only a few oils at a time because the nose soon loses sensitivity if it is exposed to too many scents at once. It is also important that you experience the freedom to innovate; I often combine scents from more than one element at a time, depending on what I want to achieve. Remember, the nose knows!

Check out more from the SLUG Archives:
Pagans in Utah: June 1992
Pagans in Utah: Pagan Bookshelf