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 Seven Scents

Seven Scents

Healing and the Aromatic Imagination

Dorothy P. Abram, illustrated by Laura Mernoff

Quick Overview

Examining the psychoactive nature of seven aromatic plants, this book centres on scent as a line of inquiry in the exploration of spiritual and healing states. Offering an exciting entry into the complexities of human experience, this book also makes reference to Biblical, Greek and Hindu stories and reveals new dimensions of knowledge.
Published by Singing Dragon
Details Price Qty
Paperback / softback
2017, 8.50in x 5.51in / 216mm x 140mm, 160pp
ISBN: 978-1-84819-349-9
2017, ePUB, 160pp
ISBN: 978-0-85701-307-1
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Identifying seven aromatic plants with specific psychoactive properties, the author describes the different states of consciousness that are achieved, manipulated, and transformed by the people and cultures that use them in specialized ways, both in the past and in the contemporary world.

Focusing on the role that scent plays in healing and spiritual experience, the author explores the use of the fragrant tulsi plant both in Hindu women's ritual and to treat mental and physical ailments. She analyses the appearance of the lotus in sacred Egyptian customs, and as a model of the process of psychological change through metaphorical journeys, as witnessed in shamanic practice and its relation to the Biblical book of Job. Making a significant contribution to the understanding of the healing state, the book is stimulating reading for all those who work with and are interested in aromatics, the sense of smell, or the nature of spiritual experience.


'Take seven deep breaths...Abram skilfully weaves a captivating aromatic web - integrating sacred plant stories contained within holy texts as a means of exploring man's relationship with himself, with healing, with the divine and with the wider world. It emphasizes scent as the cornerstone of integration of self, offering spiritual insights with a rare perspicacity.'
- Rhiannon Lewis, Editor of the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy

'This presentation of seven scents in seven biographical case histories of religious figures that lived close to deity examines the integrative functioning of fragrance. Situated in a culturally determined context, scent is used as a pathway to spiritual transcendence. Abram offers a valuable observation on the loss of primordial consciousness and the role of perfume in a sanitized modern society. I recommend this book for anyone interested in the interaction of scent and spirituality.'
- Carl A.P. Ruck, author of The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries

'Seven Scents distils the neuroscience and symbolism of fragrant plants to enrich our insight into a sense which, though trivialized by modern culture, unites the biological and spiritual. Professor Abram explores scented plant references in biblical and Hindu literature to reveal the wealth of meaning inherent in their stories. The sacred and therapeutic aspects of these narratives are sensitively compounded to awaken the reader's 'aromatic imagination' - and to tap the deepest roots of aromatherapy.'
- Gabriel Mojay LicAc, CertEd, FIFPA, The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine & Aromatherapy (ITHMA)

'In this slim but enlightening and tightly packed book, Abram traces the physical, psychological, and spiritual healing powers of seven aromatic flowers and trees: sandalwood, lotus, neem, terebinth, tulsi (sacred basil), spikenard, and jasmine. She skillfully describes the pharmacological properties of the plants and their spiritual, magical, and mythological significance. Fascinating accounts include priestess Bhairavi Brahmani healing the insanity of 19th-century Hindu saint and teacher Ramakrishna, using sandalwood paste as a cooling agent; the use of the oils, aroma, and leaves of the neem tree to fight smallpox and the tree's relationship to Hindu goddess Sitala Mata; the prophet Abraham's use of terebinth to change consciousness and gain insight into a new religion; the spiritual and metaphorical significance of spikenard in the Gospels; and the inhalation of jasmine flowers to relieve consciousness-altering conditions such as epilepsy. Abram puts aromatic plants into cultural and religious context from ancient to modern times through personal narratives, historical accounts, and intricate mythologies.'

'Seven Scents distills the neuroscience and symbolism of fragrant plants to enrich our insight into a sense which, though trivialized by modern culture, unites the biological and spiritual (...) Embellished by beautiful, evocative woodcut illustrations by Laura Mernoff, Seven Scents weaves a rich tapestry of cultural, aromatic and spiritual themes, held together by a consistent focus on and symbolic interpretation of the therapeutic effects of aromatic plants and natural fragrance. The book will appeal, therefore, to the aromatherapist and plant medicine practitioner who seeks to understand the diverse and profound symbolic connections between aromatic plants and spirituality, fragrance and transformation.'


By (author): Dorothy P. Abram
Illustrated by: Laura Mernoff