For a while now I've wanted to try out some of the aromatherapeutic scents blended by the Twilight Alchemy Lab
Twilight is the practical magic offshoot of the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
, where the scents are painstakingly infused with lots of juju from day one, and each blend is composed of ingredients meant to create a specific effect.
I'm a queer mix of sceptic and superstitious lout, so the idea of these appeals to me immensely even as I want to deny that it does. I'm cat-curious about them, because I've always believed that there may be something to the whole thing.
The sense of smell is poorly understood, the most mysterious of all the senses. People scoff about using scent as a tool. Aromatherapy is viewed as kooky, unscientific; combine it with spellcasting and you're bound to be called a nut. It's true that, barring the placebo effect, unscientific mumbo-jumbo never did anyone a lick of good. Yet there's nothing unscientific about the fact that scent affects our brains strongly. It's like a livewire, a shortcut straight into the core of the brain. Clearly it does have the power to affect us on a more than surface level, though the means by which it does so are so poorly understood as to seem
One of the reasons I wanted to try the TAL blends is that I am, by my nature, skeptical of thaumaturgy, of magic. I'm no great believer in the ability of scents to alter physical reality in a magical way. I want to say that right off. I don't believe in magic, either. Not specifically. But I believe in energy, and I believe that meditative focus, combined with action, is a powerful tool for change, one that can seem magical. And I believe that scent can act as background meditation.
But I believe in the ability of a scent to act on the subconscious. It has been proven that certain scents have a reliable effect on people: vanilla is comforting, lavender soothing, pepper is stimulating, cinnamon is invigorating, etc. If you don't believe me, think about the profound emotional effect that music has on people. The power to exalt or humble, the power to provoke anguish, sorrow, delight, passion, rage, lust. You believe in that, don't you?
Now think about the fact that scent is hardwired into the next layer down, affecting a part of us so ancient that we often aren't even aware of its existence. It's one of the most powerful triggers to memory there is. It's linked intimately to the sense of taste, a sense we cherish and which is vital to our survival.
The end result is that there is a sort of scent library available to perfumers who can create a mood by manipulating the subject's sense of smell. I believe aromatherapeutic blends work because they keep part of the brain, the part that's always processing scent even if we are not aware of it, focused on a particular theme.
A typical vanilla-based comfort scent keeps your lizard brain focused on calm. Every time you breathe, your subconscious is reminded: stay cool. All your actions will be infused with that. And in the same way that negativity spreads, calm spreads, too. If you do a ritual ahead of time to cement the association and focus your mental energy, well, all the better.
So, yes, I absolutely believe in the psychological and emotional effects of scent, and of ritualized focus.
That's my take on it, anyway.
All that said, here are the first few scents, tested over the past months. The results have been . . . interesting.( Extensive human-animal testing under the cut. )
Very interesting stuff, all in all. I'll be posting the unreleased blends tomorrow.