The neighborhood for instance that I lived in in Bahia had a distinctly unique aroma. Likely a coastal blend of hot trash and stray cat feces And yet, for years to come after leaving Brazil anytime I caught a whiff of that same scent combination, it put a nostalgic smile on my face as a nod to the countless magical memories I had living there.
Scent, much like our other senses (auditory/visual etc) can be so evocative. Stirring something up from the past. Can you recall the scent of your first lover? Your childhood home? Your best friend? Each experience, person or place is held in a unique aroma of its own. Known only to you. Held somewhere deep in your memory. Your consciousness. These associations are special to me.
As Vladimir Nobokov states perfectly, “nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.” This is SO true! And in knowing this I now hold a different association to the candles I create. As should you.
Take for instance this hypothetical scenario. I’ve lived now in LA for 3 years. Let’s assume for a moment that during this time I chose to burn consistently the same scent in my home, for all 3 years. Can you imagine the extent to which that one scent would be tied to my memories of this place? If I ever choose to leave LA, imagine how intimately that one candle scent would be imprinted upon my memories here. If EVER down the line I were to burn that same candle scent in a new place/city, I’d instantly conjure up my memories from LA. The memories from my entire chapter of life living in LA, represented in a scent. That I could take with me anywhere. And reignite, any time.
This to me is powerful.
What memories or chapters of your life would you want to capture? Hold on to longer?
In some ways, we have an opportunity to create and more importantly RELIVE memories with scent. We can eclipse, capture and possibly resurrect at a later point in life a chapter we want to hold on to. We all have ups and downs in life, but during one of our “up seasons” wouldn’t it be cool to capture the essence of that somehow? The vibe of it. Hold on to it all longer? Recreate it somehow? In some ways, this practice (burning a candle that brings you back to the good times) could become a tool for us to call upon during one of life’s down chapters that can hit us all from time to time…
Aroma gives us tools to help recall elements from our past in ways only photographs can. What if, for instance, every time a particular person you care about comes to visit you burn your favorite scent. And ONLY when that person is around. Once this scent association is made, you can then later, perhaps when traveling or away from this person, ignite the same candle and instantly be flooded with the memories of your time together. What they wore. What they said. How they felt. Your conversations together.
As I have stated before, think not of candles as merely decor or a nice-to-have retail product. It has far greater potential. When used with intention, they give us room to play. Room to love ourselves in self-devotion. Room to create sacred space. And room as discussed today, to encapsulate the beautiful essence of our most cherished moments from our past.