The Death/Scent Reading List

Over the last year I have had several requests for more information and deeper reads on subjects brought up on the blog. So after banging around my shelves a bit, here is the Death/Scent reading list. Some of them are staples of both olfactive and death literature, others are weird and wonderful deep cuts.  This…

The Perfumed Mummy (Egypt Part IV)

Now we reach the intersection of material culture, belief systems, and death with the physical preparation of the body, which used many aromatic ingredients. The creation of the archetypical Egyptian mummy was a complex evolution that embraced the olfactive elements of the putrid and the divine.

The Body as Art: Bone Shields (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 This month we are going to be examining human remains used in artistic pieces. Some of these works serve…

There Will Be Blood (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 St. Francis Borgia at the Death Bed of an Impenitent, Francisco Goya, 1788

I Smell Witches (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 Witches on the Sabbath, Luis Ricardo Falero, 1878

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

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…

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…