QuercusAlbus' Perfume Blog
Capriciosity of 'Fume
It's my understanding that the purpose of these blog-pages is to serve as a kind of °safe space° in which one may unfold one's ideas in a way that would be too unpeacable in the review pages; however, I thought I had better stress that this article explores the connections between the art of perfume-wearing, mysticism, dæmonology, quantum mechanics, & sin according to Christian eschatology (yes, for real!). I really do not wish that anyone's mind or sensibilities be unseated for a season by such searchings-out: so if you think yours might be, please kindlily skip this article.
Anyone who reads this article will find that in it I go on relentlessly labouring a point to an extreme. That is because each time I found a figure that I thought would be ^the^ one to ^really properly^ clarify the matter it just seemed, on actually broaching it, to lead into yet-deeper water. But the point actually is, that the best way to tame the capriciosity of the smellsense is the ^zen-like^ state-of-mind; and also there is somewhat about how, as I believe, direction as to the zen-like state-of-mind is °encoded° or °hardwired° into a ^very^ wide range of mystical texts - not merely those that broach it explicitly, such as the Baghavad Gita & such-like, but also the more ferocious Abrahamic texts, and ^even^ the dæmonological adjuncts to those. And, yes! in quantum mechanics! The zen-like state-of-mind is referenced ^all over the place^, as one may see if one look-out - or ^not^ look-out in good zen-like fashion.
Why is perfume such an expensive accesory? Why is there so much disagreement about such matters as how long a perfume lasts? What are anosmia & dysosmia, & what rôle do they play in the perception of a 'fume? The answer to the second half of the last question is, I believe, ^very^ ^very^ much of a rôle - they're just basically constant pests. What is it whereby one 'fume is purse-friendly, & another purse-inimical, or even purse-deadly? There is that fleeting moment, I have found, in which we ^know^ why we pay an exhorbitant sum for a 'fume; and if we can °freeze° our judgement in that moment we may ^even^ be able to guess with quite remarkable accuracy the price of it. But does it then follow that the enjoyment we derive from it is proportional to that price?
Actually, the question of whether a perfume is ^ever^ worth the price is abrogate: they are not, ever: 'fume-love is a vice that can very easily drag one down to perdition!! The most there is ever any mileage in asking is "is there some justice in the price of this 'fume as considered on the plane of 'fume?".
And there is the principle of 'less is more'. Have you ever been in a store when a sample-bottle gets y-brock? You'd expect it to honk the place out ... but it doesn't! How weird is that? I do think spray dispensers are a Zeus-send where 'fume is concerned. They are ^very^ greatly helpful in one's moderating one's dose. I recently poured 15 ml of Xerjoff's ~Lua~ on myself fræ a bottle that got broken. I did this because the spilt stuff was contaminated with dust & various particles: I don't know whether there would actually have been any harm in salvaging it with the remainder that was still in the bottle; but the specks of this & that floating about in the spillage put the idea firmly in my mind "just crash it now in a crazy berserk ~Lua~ wearing!"; but I think I actually derived more delight from the glancing-blow it caught me in the store when I was first introduced to this utterly gorgeous 'fume - an absolutely ^miniscule^ amount! So yes! there is a ^very^ great deal of truth in 'less is more'. And it's this kind of capriciosity that makes the very ^wearing^ of 'fume an art in itself.
So the wearing of a fume is a entire process: it's not just a matter of depositing x amount of such-&-such a stuff into one's gegenwart: the whole ^process^ of administering it with due delicacy & respect is crucial to the resulting olfactory experience, a neglect of or temptation to rush even a small detail having the potential to be deadly. Have you ^ever^ salvaged a disappointing olfactory experience by burying your nose in your wrist or sleeve or whatever? I certainly never have. But sometimes I still do it!! And I've got into the habit of not advertising my 'fume wearings. When this or that person, on being apprised of it, starts leaning right over into me, sniffing away, I think "please don't do that! You ought to know it ^won't do any good^!".
'Fume wearing is an instance of Magick (note the uppercase 'M' & the terminal 'k') in the most literal (but not supernatural) sense. The key to this Magick is expounded quite explicitly in the Baghavad Gita. When one wears a 'fume, one is (actually quite literally, but again not supernaturally) conjuring a spirit. Not that the Baghavad Gita is about the conjuring of spirits - that's not how it bears upon this matter. (Anyone who is not of a mystickal bent will probably be a little baffled by now - please don't take this to mean that I think you ^ought^ to be - some are & some aren't.) If you wish to read about that, consult the works of Sir John Dee, or The Lesser Key of Solomon, both of which can be downloaded free off the web quite easily. They also expound the key hereto - but! ^very^ tangentially. Once you get that tangent, you'll see it as clear as day! Essentially, we are practising ^pharmakeia^, we 'fume-heads - one of the sins that get you, according to the latter part of the ~Revelation of John~, thrown into the Lake of Fire. But I don't think we will be thrown into the Lake of Fire anymore than a city carven out of a block of solid gold is going to descend to Earth. His vision was passing at that point, and fraught with bitterness by reason of earthly reality beginning to enter in. That tends to happen with supernal visions.
And the spirits we conjure by this practice are ^very^ shy: they will flee utmostly hastily from the least commotion!
Wearing perfume is the epitome of zen-consciousness. The underlying principle of Zen is right there in the Baghavad Gita - the principle of simply doing or being, unswayed by lust-of-result. This does not mean of course that a rationally constituted aim ought not to figure in one's actions, but rather that the aim be hardwired into the doing itself without its being a supervenient °item° hegemonising over one's actions. I cannot expand on this principle further here; but I do adduce that the full unfolding of the potential of a fragrance is an action particularly well-suited to conducing the mind & spirit unto this manner of comporture. Another particularly fine example is remembering where one has put something: the worst thing that can happen is when someone, making an ostentation of helpfulness, plies us with questions - "where did you last see it? ... have you checked in the .... ? ... do you think you might have ... ? etc etc", when precisely what we ^do^ need is a peaceful space in which the recollections of what we have just done might °fall into place° as it were °under their own weight°. And when we get that, the solution forms itself in an unfraught & perhaps routine (if this kind of thing happens quite regularly) manner. Does it sound familiar, being pestered like that when one has momentarily misplaced something? I put it that °relaxing into° enjoyment of a 'fume is very much like the process of °relaxing into° the recollections whereby we solve the problem of where we have put the thing, whatever it be.
Right! Enough of Magick & Mysticism for now! "Thank-God!" I hear you say (if you have read this far - which you probably haven't); and perhaps God hath indeed intervened! Another way of saying this is that if you shake the tree you get rotten fruit. I think the temptation to shake the tree can be overwhelming. Put the 'fume on - and then LEAVE IT! I don't mean leave it in the sense of not perhaps putting a bit more on later, or something like that. I mean leave it ^mentally - in your mind^ - refrain utterly from in any way °grasping° at it or °chasing° it! If you grasp at it it will slip from your grasp; and if you chase it it will flee from you.
It gets even crazier when you start counting compliments. The 'fume does not ^get^ you compliments: the entire manner in which one comports oneself with the 'fume as an element of that may eventuate in this or that person saying pleasant things about the 'fume. I would go as far as to say that the 'fume itself probably actually ^smells per-se^ dependingly on how one comports oneself, with no detail of that comporture immaterial. In review pages if certain 'fumes touted as °pulling potions° one man will aver allout that the ladies don't like it; and the next, equally allout, that they love it! How weird is that!? Oh yes - 'fume is capricious alright! It's a veritable wild-horse!
Another analogy is quantum mechanics (which is in many ways very mystical): someone asking what olfactory experience a 'fume is going to °bring° or °deliver° is rather like the student of quantum mechanics who is just never through with asking which aperture the electron ^actually did^ pass through. In quantum mechanics the °thing that happens° and the °measuring of that thing° becomes fused into an entirety; and in like manner, the perfume is not an entity with static qualities there to be °accessed° by the °partakers° of them, but rather one of the elements in an entire event consisting of many acts of which the broaching of the 'fume is not partcularly the climax or the focus or the fulcrum, and the total olfactory experience being a function of that entirety - not of the 'fume alone, or even of the 'fume & its broaching, but of the event as an ^entirety^.
This started out as something seemingly quite simple; but it seems that every time I've tried to clarify or better-explicate the matter with some figure or other I've just gotten myself into °deeper & deeper water°. Maybe I've done better than I imagine; but whether I have or not, I'll be through now with plying these kinds of approach. But is that not what these °blog pages° are for? I hope so!.
I know I have crises over my 'fumes, and I see when I read reviews that others have also. I'm making some progress, I think, and getting the hang of it. I am certain now, though, that the olfactory faculty is ^extremely^ capricious, and that when we attempt olfactory art-forms, by which I mean public 'fume-wearings, we can find ourselves wrestling with a long-hundred smoke-serpents!