Death the Bride (Scent the Scene)

In this series, we examine aspects of death and bereavement through art, olfaction, and imaginative thinking. Feel free to follow along at home and leave your take on this scented death meditation below.  This Week’s Muse Death the Bride, Thomas Cooper Gotch, 1895

Ephemera Guide: Snails, Loons, & Strange Women

Hello, again dearies and welcome to this month’s Ephemera post, where I natter on about the things that I’ve enjoyed in the last few weeks. This month we have some doozies, so let’s jump in.

Strengthen Your Sense of Smell While Contemplating Your Doom

So if you are familiar with my Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook just about every Sunday (sometimes I’m lazy), I have a Scent the Scene post. What is Scent the Scene, you ask? Well, it’s an exercise in perfumery and meditation into death positivity with the help of visual art. It’s something you can do for a few…

Emerging Research on the Scent of Death

Here at Death/Scent we tend to play with pleasant fragrances that are used to create an atmosphere of sacred space during death rituals. I am not, however, averse to talking about the darker side of scent. Especially when new research on the fetid haze of human decomposition may lead to improved forensic recovery. So let’s…

Farewell Eco

On February 19th, the world lost a brilliant mind and soul, perhaps the last true Renaissance man. Umberto Eco has been like a literary godfather to me over the years. It was The Name of the Rose that made me learn Latin in grade school. His work on semiotics opened me to a new way…

Turning the Bones Part II: Endangered Customs

This is Part II of our two-part look at Famadihana. Read Part I here While forces have been at work for some time trying to kill the lively and joyous practice of Famadihana, they have done little to dampen the practice in the highlands; what may prove the death nail, however, is the pneumonic plague.

Turning the Bones Part I: Dance with the Perfumed Dead

Places have souls; you experience them through their scents. What does Madagascar’s soul smell like? Mango and lemon chutney, recently plucked limes and papaya, fresh green coffee pods, and newly ground cocoa powder. It’s in homemade cinnamon-infused rum mixed with coconut milk (a Punch Coco), carved Rosewood figures rubbed with nutty Baobab oil, wild ylang-ylang…

The Chemistry of Death and Desire

What do fleshy tuberose, cooked Brussel sprouts, chocolate, the musk of human sex, faeces, and a decomposing body all have in common?