Neuroscientists and psychologists tell us that the sense of smell is closely connected to memory and emotion. Scents can tie us to our traditions (the smell of challah baking or latkes frying), and to Nature and places of the soul. I remember that when we moved from South Texas to Northern California, the first February I missed the smell of our backyard Mountain Laurel so much that I made my mother put some in a zip-lock bag and mail it to me.

Scents are the bread of the soul.–Peter Stephan Jungk

Indoors, you can use scents to soothe your soul: cooking with herbs, decorating with fresh flowers, lighting with scented candles (use with caution), anointing yourself lotions or scented oils. I like to make a simple natural room spray from filtered water with drops of essential oils of lavender and peppermint that makes my home smell like a spa.

 Avraham Aromatherapy is an Israeli company that specializes in aromatherapy based on Jewish sources, include kabbalah-based scents and essential oils of the incense used in the Holy Temple.

Consider and Comment: What smells from nature and culture are vital to your soul? How can you incorporate them into your life?

Featured image: Texas Mountain Laurel, via Dr. Jerry Parson’s Plant Answers

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