The Portal of the Senses
Romancing the Plants
I can’t seem to keep my nose out of anything. I smell my friends, my kitchen mugs, my mail, my cat ….. I may as well have born with whiskers. My sense of smell is on equal footing with the rest of my senses. Even though it doesn't drive my car or find my keys when they’re lost, they are without a doubt navigating me through life.
As I kneel by the cold rushing river with the newly warmed rays of sun beating down on my winter skin, I let the world enter my body. I deeply Inhale the effervescence of the humid air, I feel the resins lured from the bark by the warmth and reach wide from the tree trunks as if to court the fairies with their perfume, the earthly expressions of the moment speak to me in a wordless language. I am touched by the elements; the air in my eyelashes, the moss warming in my hand, the humming of stone, the secrets of the soil. Animated in my nerves is the life force of the land.
My pulse, perhaps synchronizing with the memories of drums or churning of magma. My iron blood hears stories in the rocks. Medicine drips, milky and bitter, from collected stems, sticking unapologetically to my fingers. Cleavers tags along on my hem, while thorns give warning to slow down. Soggy leaves hide waking pupa. It still might snow. It would be a cruel thing for the fruit trees, but humbling yet again for us two-leggeds with the curse of hubris. In the meantime, my mouth gives health orders: green, yellow, sharp, salty, sour and bitter! I listen. I eat.
In the same way my eyes feast on flowers and my skin drinks in rivers, my skin dessert is touch and my emotions ride the waves of ecstasy through plant oils. Delicate honeyed Elder flowers, sexy Jasmine absolute, the enlightenment of Rose attar, and the seduction of a good, dark patchouli. I’m servant to the muse and the nuance of emotional evocation. Goddesses call to me, stories write themselves, images dance in my mind. My heart pumps and moves closer to the little bottles of heaven, asking for more. More linden, more fir, more amber. Yes.
Rapture of the senses lets me sink. Beyond the forces of duty, of chore, of old wounds. Sinking like a shaman’s journey down a wet root into a sacred spring where the wise woman waits. She touches my throat with her herbal wand, invites me to rest my burdens in the salty pool. Gems and singing minerals glisten as I breathe. I breathe in the memories of Juniper. The touch of tulsi on my arms and legs. The splash of the water ceremony and lingering smoke of palo santo. Memories of Artemisia bundles and blue glass bowls and women shivering and hugging and laughing. Sandalwood oil soft on my feet helps me stand. I’m wrapped in a warm flax blanket and handed a blank book, with a wooden pencil. In my portal, through my senses, I am taught, healed, loved, touched, safe, connected, and ripe with possibility. Experience becomes play, skill flirts with luck, and joy sneaks up on me often.
For pleasure medicine or a sensory journey of your own, see my new botanical perfumes at my Aromatic Apothecary: