Rivers of scent
There are so many ways of knowing, but of those ways that you once had, few remain to you today. One of these was scent. [Our Lady of Woodstock]
Ivan the woodcarver is absorbed in his workshop when I arrive, among carvings, cobwebs, and chisels. As he says hello he holds out a handful of shavings from the piece he is carving, and I lean over to smell it.
There is a rush of remembrance. A scent memory from another land and time. How can so much beauty and information be stored in the resin of a single tree? In the aromatic scent of these few curls of cedar.
The trees and flowers, the animals, insects and birds – these all live and have their being within broad, deep, delicate rivers of scent. [Our Lady of Woodstock]
In ancient times a lineage of women, known as myrrophores (myrrh bearers), were highly trained to work with scent, using botanical oils and resins. They served as midwives of the soul through life’s transitions, especially in the process of rebirth (such as through illness and loss), and across the threshold of death. Two of these women were Mary’s.
How do we re-enter the ‘rivers of scent’, with the trees and flowers, the animals, insects and birds? The Mysteries show us that it is by claiming our joy, facing sorrow, and being reborn.
Over and over.