Making Sense of Scents

Holy Smoke!

The ancients believed that the only thing which could cross the physical barrier between Heaven and Earth was the smoke of incense. Indeed perfume takes its name from the Latin “per fumare” which means “through” or “by” smoke. If you prayed to your God, whatever his or her name, and you wanted your prayers to be answered favourably, it made sense to “sweeten” your request with the magical smokes of burning aromatics.
Here’s my take on that: (Oh! and by the way Onycha is crushed operculum (door) from a certain Mediterranean snail which helped “fix” the mix.  Still used in the Middle East.)

Exodus

The censer burns with charcoal bright,

As on its aromatic flight,

Incense to the heavens winds,

And with sweet words a promise binds.

Dark, smoky tongue that breezes waft,

A fragrant wisp that mounts the draft,

This messenger with breath divine,

That calls the Gods and makes them mine.

I cannot fail in love or war

As Myrrh on heated coals I pour,

And Frankincense to charge the mix,

With Galbanum the scent to fix.

Onycha crushed will make complete

My Mercury on wingéd feet,

Who stirs the Gods above the cloud

And passes on my prayer endowed.

Hear Ye! A mortal stands below,

My plea is made; it’s time to show

Pray manifest and succour me

Repay my sacrifice to thee.

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