This report in Nature prodded my attention.
It seems that some scientists are just discovering what many of us have known for thousands of years: that smell aids memory.
Specifically, that the hippocampus, which is responsible for such things as context-related learning (interestingly, contextual fear response among them), is powerfully affected by smells.
Researchers think that a part of the brain called the hippocampus is like the scratch-pad of memory, where we put new things that have been experienced or learned until they can be filed for long-term storage. During sleep, these memories are ‘reactivated’ and transferred to the cortex.
Odours are known to have a potent effect on the hippocampus
But it has reminded me of the importance, to me, of using incense as an aid to meditation, pathworking, ritual or magic.
A scent can take you right back to the place where you last smelled it.
Inhaling the fragrance of a new book yesterday, I was whisked back to my 10-year-old self, reading my first Robert Heinlein.Bliss.
This is where Scott Cunningham’s Invocation to Writing Things Down comes in.
If you’re using incense for a certain working and you make your own, remember to write down the exact ingredients.Then make a larger batch than you’ll use in one sitting-store the excess in an airtight container and code it so that the next time you do such a working -or pick up the same working again -you’ll have the same scent to aid you.