Kate’s Word: – Hello Darkness, my old friend!

There are times I fall headlong into a place of internal darkness. Now, before you say anything, I need to tell you that I have tried all manner of exorcist attempts to rid myself of that place. I cannot. Not without huge expense to my poor brain. I have learned that I must take the dark with the brilliance. I find it is the people around me who cannot cope with my retreat into darkness.

Our culture isn’t equipped with ways to legitimise our darkness. Freud and Jung tried to make some repatriation with the depths within, and Wittgenstein and Nietzsche recognised it is a part of the human condition. Still, popular culture has made the dark night of the soul something to be afraid of and to rid one’s self of, more so. Our response has been to incarcerate people who tread the dark side, shock them with electricity and the current trend is to dope them up with pills to escape through numbing.

I trawled through my perfume collection to find something that speaks of my dark mood and to express, in olfactory terms, my need to sit in the dark for a bit. I found nothing. Zilch. Everything I own is bottled sunshine, an afternoon in a blooming garden or straddles the melancholy aura of a church congregation in contemplation. I picked up Antaeus but it is too upbeat masculine. My tuberose scents are either flirty feminine or morose. Not at peace with the dark. I had to settle for Floriental by Comme des Garcons. It is the closest I have to sombre deepness.

I don’t want a scent that mourns the passing of a loved one. I don’t want pseudo Goth black that really masks a love for rose and incense. I want a scent that says it is safe and okay to be still in the dark and to descend with full knowledge that I will return to the light eventually. It has to be the scent that Hades, Darth Vader or Osiris would wear. Something that symbolises their life on the dark side.

Life isn’t happy ever after. Life ducks and dives into places that makes us uncomfortable. We don’t celebrate our journeys into the darkness. We hide these journeys in the beer we drink, the pills we take and the silent tears at night.

Tell me of perfumes you know that tell of time spent in the underworld; ones that you took from your time there.

– Kate Apted ©2018


11 thoughts on “Kate’s Word: – Hello Darkness, my old friend!

  1. Thanks Kate for that highly provocative piece.

    It takes a VERY strong individual to move around in the world exuding such a scent as you describe. Many women would be horrified to be clothed in the raw scent of such wild abandon. ‘What if people recoil? ‘Hey Francine, what are you wearing, aftershave?’ etc etc

    Thinking about the imagined scent of Osiris, here’s a quick formula sketch (untested) – Spikenard, Myrrh, Cinnamon, Indian Frankincense (Serrata NOT Boswellia Carterii) Cypress and Cedarwood. Pungent, penetrating, eternally long-lasting, unforgettable. Quantities? Dunno.

    I have a few that meet my own needs for this kind of application:- (commercial frags) Old Cabochard by Gres, Aromatics Elixir (both Cabochard and AE were composed by Bernard Chant), Ambre Eternelle Guerlain (that bottle you gave me…!!), Zen Shiseido (vintage) and from my collection:- Lyonesse (all about swords and long bows), Tallemaja (earth magic, gothic fairytales and witchcraft), Soul (venturing beyond), Black Spruce (goblin perfume) and Tristan & Yseult (tragic love and loss).

    I wish thee well on the road to wherever it is you’re headed. Postcards please and see you soon x

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I use fragrance to soothe and elevate – I don’t think I own anything really very dark. Armani Prive Myrhh Imperiale is dark, but in a religious cocoon like way. There are others that are in the same vein, but are dark in a good way – a soothing calming way. I suppose living in the dark as much as I do, I find it soothing. No need for sunshine and happiness – no fakery. Life leads us through the darkness so we can appreciate the light, and the darkness has it’s own beauty.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I did smell a concoction once that had a metallic, gritty, tyre rubber and tar type of vibe.. and my reaction was ‘F Why ?’ I cant remember who by .. it might have been called Black but I cant find it on Fragrantica, so it must have been ages ago, and that scent may not be metaphysical enough to capture those dark times you speak of anyway. It reminded me of being deep under the city waiting for a train in an old dirty railway station on a hot summers afternoon with no fresh air. I wouldn’t want to go there if there was any alternative. To me that sort of environment is almost the pits of hell. Perhaps the smell you mention would include something deceased..(dead socks?).. something ended so as a new impulse could arise from the ‘ashes’ ??? it would surely have to do that to fulfil the brief, as a perfume, as plants do.

    I will give your question more thought – this fragrance lives in a different location from just the material world.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you Kate. It’s good for me to hear your words. Its hard for me to understand what I don’t experience. However a loved one does and the best I think I can do is “be still” and listen through silence. Fresh herbs picked from the garden to gently soothe. Oregano, basil, sage, rosemary and thyme, the aroma of home cooking to comfort, nourish and encourage my loved one that it’s ok. Living continues joyfully as we wait it through patiently, peacefully. We have time and we have love.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is the key, Julie. To continue living to the beat of your own drum. Nothing worse than the guilt of our darkness supressing another’s shine. Rock on, baby!

      Liked by 2 people

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