The boy remarked yet again on Friday, that I have a unique smell and that I always smell the same. I made sure this wasn’t a bad thing and then I explained. One of the herbal products I make and use has a rare and distinct scent. I felt a little odd letting the kid in on my secret, but he’s earned it by complimenting me with the notice. I figure keeping a few secrets is the way of witchcraft because one gets a little protective of their special tricks. That is why it’s called the occult after all. One of the trade secrets of an unforgettable witch is their signature scent.
In part, traditional witchcraft is rooted in the trade guild culture and in some cases magic was simply trade secrets. The Order of the Horseman’s Word’s great mystery may not have actually been only a word, but instead scent recipes. Horses react very strongly to certain odors, for example a witch using the urine of a mare in heat can more easily bring a male horse under their control. Although some of the old secrets are now known, the scents still have the same power whatever our understanding of the cause.
For humans too, the seemingly random cupid’s arrow is understood now to be sensual chemistry. Some of the best old love spells rely quite a bit on getting pheromones or herbs that stimulate pheromones into action. Hawthorn blooms famously associated with the fertility festivals of May smell quite arousing outdoors, but taken inside the cloying perfume is unpleasant. The classic perfume of roses is intimately tied to feelings of sensual love and for that reason they are very often used in love focused magic.
“These were carried to the Sorceress, who would often demand (as do somnambulists of the present day) such and such an article of the most intimate nature, imbued, as it were, with the wearer’s personality, but which she would never have given of her own free will; for instance, a fragment torn from a garment long worn and soiled which she had moistened with the sweat of her body. All this, remember, smothered with adoring kisses and wistfully regretted. But it must be ruthlessly burned and reduced to ashes to serve the required purpose.”
– The Sorceress by Jules Michelet, 1862.
If a romance is weakening, recall if there was a fragrance you wore when things were better, but neglect to put on anymore. Going back to an old brand should assist in efforts to rekindle passions. When lovers are apart even a teen knows to spray their love letters with cologne. Absence paired with excited memory makes the heart feel longing.
Equally useful is to wear a scent of special times to excite a couple during boring times. For a lover of the holidays, cinnamon and pine may bring upon the good feelings of yuletide–without the stress of shopping and overbooked party schedules. A seaside summer fling is salty sea air and warm sand to the nose and spring romance can be intensified with flower perfumes.
“She had na pu’d a double rose,
A rose but only twa,
Till upon then started young Tam Lin,
Says, Lady, thou’s pu nae mae.”
– Tam Lin Child Ballad 39A, 1792
Scent is able to summon up mood immediately. The intense memory response of scent can bring one to a physical, emotional and mental state from before. Janet in the above folk song, interacted with her lover in the fairy realm with rose. Used with purpose a witch can plan scents to empower her magic for any number of various goals.Mysticism and ritual skills also benefit greatly from careful inclusion of fragrance. Using a particular incense consistently each time you do a certain ritual, meditation or trance practice functions to train your skills. The witch may develop the skill to the point that the scent alone can bring the, that altered state and into contact with the spirits they work with in that state. Having different incenses paired with different purposes increases the effectiveness of different rituals. Without a knowledge of the importance of aromas in magic, correspondence lists can be arbitrary. Figuring out from trial and error what scents have what effect allows the witch to make their own correspondences if they haven’t already a reliable list to work from.
The love of families and for ancestors is also well empowered by scent fueled memory. For ancestor veneration, be sure to cook fragrant foods that were served by your family in times of wealth, prosperity and cheer. The spirits of our dearly departed are attracted to familiar and beloved kitchen smells. A favorite hot dish is as important as incense in ancestral work. Offerings of food, incense, tobacco and flowers fulfill spirits with an invisible nourishment.
Likewise baking cookies are good to help sell a house. And when one doesn’t want to actually bake and risk burning forgotten cookies during an open house, a few drops of vanilla in a steamer simulates the same. Bacon frying can make people hungry, coffee brewing can wake up a sleeping household and the combination is a recipe for the best part of waking up. The kitchen witch knows how important the cooking of a feast dish is to family cheer and luck.
Use this Winter scent oil to make incenses, to blend with candles, or as anointing oil at yule and new years, or for anytime you want to evoke the feeling of holiday cheer:
- ½ ounce Sweet Almond Carrier oil
- 10 drops of tangerine oil
- 5 drops of clove oil
- 5 drops of pine oil
- 5 drops of cinnamon oil
When writing and researching traditional witchcraft spells, rituals and practices, pay special attention to any components that have mood altering scents. Be sure to use herbs that are fresh enough to still be fragrant. Understanding the purpose and power of each smell you include in your witchcraft will help you use them more correctly and therefore more effectively.