In 2015 Kalain, a French start-up opened to a flurry of news articles. They claim to bottle the olfactive essence of your dead relatives for bereavement purposes. The process is simple; send them a scent infused item like a pillowcase, they work their magic, and bada bing bada boom you get a bespoke essence of your loved one Patrick…
Category: Scented Death Customs
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
The Fragrance of the Soul: Olfaction and Death in Ancient Egyptian Religion
As a society, we have an anosmic view of history. We don’t think about how things smelt or what olfaction meant to people in the past because olfaction is not a primary consideration in the present. When we do think of the scents of the past, it is with modern snobbishness and assurance that all…
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…
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