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…

Mummy Powder Incense?

To the modern Westerner, incense is the friend of the pothead teenager and long-time companion of the hippy.  Incense is perhaps the oldest form of human scent manufacturing, however.

Egypt’s Sacred Scent Business

There is no scent culture with more mystery or confusion than that of the ancient Egyptians. Their perfume production wasn’t the oldest in the world nor the most sophisticated, yet the mystique of Egypt drips with fragrance. Perhaps it was because perfume and cosmetics played such a vital role in everyday life.

Scented Death Customs?

So to inaugurate things on the blog, I’d like to take a moment to go through the different categories and what they will be about. Scented Death Customs is where I will profile different burial customs along with how and why scent altering products are used. We will talk about the belief systems behind these customs as well…