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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

The warm scent of sandalwood has filled this room and is working its way out through the rest of my house, dispersed from essential I have warming on an electric incense burner. After working in the yard for a while, amidst the tang of cut grass and a brewing summer storm, I walk back into a dreamy sandalwood sanctuary. The very smell turns my thoughts to the sacredness of life, the peacefulness of meditation.

b2ap3_thumbnail_offerings_20130627-001859_1.jpgOur ancient Egyptian friends put a great deal of their effort and money into perfumed oils and incenses. In the temple, the image of a god was wakened, washed, dressed and anointed with fragrant oil or ointment each morning. Ointments and oils were regular offering items, scented with selections from the profusion of flowers and plants that grew along the Nile, or valuable imports like frankincense and sandalwood. 

And speaking of flowers, it was customary to greet guests for dinner at your house by placing around their neck a garland of fresh flowers. A touching element of undisturbed tombs found in modern times is the now-dried fresh flowers which were the last thing left on the casket, much like our custom today at a cemetery burial ceremony.

Cinnamon, cassia, myrtle, balsam, myrrh, honey, sweet flag, juniper, sage, cypress, iris, rose and, of course, lotus were all ingredients prized for their scent. Still more natural ingredients were used medicinally, including acacia, camomile, basil, dill, celery, cumin, fenugreek, lily, mandrake, pine and rue. Servants circulated at dinner parties with cones of goosefat mixed with perfume for guests to put on their heads. During the course of the evening the fat melted down through those heavy wigs, releasing the scent into the banquet hall.

b2ap3_thumbnail_egyptian-perfume-cone.jpg

The psychological effects of association with a particular smell are by now well known. Take advantage of that powerful tool by using your favorite scent whenever you meditate or do other work at your altar. True essential oils are a nice break from the smoke of burned incense, particularly if you are allergy-prone or have a respiratory illness like asthma. Just a drop in a much larger quantity of almond oil will allow you to breathe in the benefits of that plant.

And if you really want to treat yourself, Sacred Luxuries: Fragrance, Aromatherapy & Cosmetics in Ancient Egypt, by Lise Manniche, is a deliciously aromatic read, plus a gorgeous coffee-table book.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Dear Readers!

I'm Sihathor, and welcome to this, the maiden post of "A Thousand of Every Good Thing"! Titles are always hard-- Names, whether of people or projects, are important to me, as a person, and as a Kemetic (being a part of the spiritual anatomy,the Ren, in the latter). The title comes from a common phrase on offering lists in Egyptian tombs. The phrase jumped out at me, and then the interpretation. On the one hand, I haven't restricted the phrase to its funerary context, and on the other, I have extended the concept of offering farther, not just to the dead, but also to you, my very-much-alive readers.

I feel that this is a smaller vision of what I've come to do as a Kemetic. I had started off years ago, trying to do everything the way the ancients did it. Over time, I came to realize that while it's a good method sometimes, it's not always possible. As such, while my foundations are Kemetic, I don't only do Kemetic things.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tess Dawson
    Tess Dawson says #
    Welcome, Sihathor! I'm glad to see you here. I'd love to see a post sometime about Egyptian symbols (ankh, nefer, djed, wadjet, e
  • Sihathor
    Sihathor says #
    I'm glad to be in good company. There's a good idea right there! A daunting one ( The ankh and nefer-sign, at least for me, are ra

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