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Art Healing 5: Smell



(mixed media: Birch wood, rosemary, healing incense, detoxifying and lavender teas, cinnamon sticks, twine, cheese cloth, sage, dried skeletons of poplar leaves, blue glass bottle of essential oil to revive mature senses.)

This final piece in the series I am now calling Healing the Sensory Circle is intended to help heal and revive the final age and stage of life where people are trying to heal completely from their past and revive their senses that may have been lost. The lungs are all about breathing and life and to stay healthy and alive one must breathe fully and exhale the past loss and negatives. In Chinese medicine the lungs are associated with grief and the color white so I used this color as the main even in choosing a birch log for the bottom branch.

The sense of smell is obviously connected to breathing in and I wanted a fully usable and sensory piece so this piece even without the incense being lit in ceremony and without the herbs being "cooked" all smells especially when there is heat in the room which there is in winter. I made this piece as I note below, for a friend of my mother's who is in her 80s, has a minor form of emphysema, and is losing her sense of smell.

Since memories are so attached to smell I wanted to help her revive them and remember how vibrant and healthy she is regardless. I have personalized this to be simple, light, and peaceful but also with elements relating to angels because she loves angels and needs that comforting protection. Regardless of my own beliefs I believe the symbols are beautiful and are the same in whatever form they take from totem animals to angels wings so I honor their form that which will help her heal and be more appropriate. The talisman is personalized as such as well.

The cinnamon sticks are not only edible for regulating blood sugar levels and lowering blood pressure (both of which she needs) but also are symbolic for ceremony as one stick at a time to let go of old pains and loss of the death of her loved ones (at this age there are many) and the stack symbolizes a stack of firewood by the hearth of many years of having a home/life filled with loved ones. The living and dried herbs can be removed and used in ceremony or left to smell and dry as they are to give the room a healing fragrance. There are two satchels of herbs that hang as a pair to show the duality of life and death and the healing of both our present and past so the future passing is peaceful. The green agate stone is calming, soothing, strengthening, helps concentration, and stimulates memories. I have attached it in the center log as a way to immediately focus and remember one's strength after surviving a lifetime of love and loss.

The dried skeleton of leaves overlapping the incense sticks symbolize angels wings leading us through aging and the latter years of life lightly and peacefully. The dried branching berry tree is symbolic of the tree of life and the slanted forward line of 10 incense sticks symbolize the forward movement of time and scents stir the memory more than any other sense hence double the 5 in the "timeline."

[Note this talisman is different & personalized for someone who believes & needs angels support in her older age so I left the stone on the art for meditation and healing: Tibetan thread, metal locket, image of friend's child as angel with prayer on back]

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