As someone who is both a Christian and an aromatherapist specializing in brain fitness, I have long been interested in the spiritual implications of scent. It was not always so, however. Before I was a Christian aromatherapist I was a Christian Gnostic who believed that the physical world was unimportant to the Lord and that our focus should be on “spiritual” matters rather than the things we can see, touch, taste and smell.
I’ve since come to realize (thanks to mentors like Saint Paul, Tom Wright, and Saint Irenaeus) that there is not a hard and fast division between the material and the spiritual, but that the spiritual sacramentally transfuses the stuff of material creation.
As part of my recovery from implicit Gnosticism, I wrote this series of articles for the Chuck Colson Center exposing and refuting the implicit Gnosticism that has made inroads into so much Christian thinking. As a corollary to realizing that the material world is actually good, I began to appreciate that there are spiritual implications to food (see links throughout this article) and also that the physical body is good and should be affirmed. Similarly, I also wrote a series of articles on the spirituality of aroma. Below are links to the articles I wrote about the spirituality of aroma:
- A Whiff From Which to Benefit (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 1)
- Scent and the Christian Church (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 2)
- Recovering the Spirituality of Scent (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 3)
- Scent and Spirit (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 4)
- Body Odor and Personal Identity (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 5)
- Smell, Love and Emotion (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 6)
- Wendell Berry on Health and Beauty (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 7)
- The Body and the Self (The Spirituality of Smell, Part 8)