Friday, 9 March 2007

The Sweet Smell of Success

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

Get away.

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.