Sensing the Subtleties: Part One


The Five Senses

Our spiritual work relies on our physical and subtle states of being working co-creatively and collaboratively. We engage the senses in this work continually, but rarely give equal importance to them all. The sense of sight is commanded into presence through practice of visualization techniques. Sound is stimulated with drumming, chanting and toning. Touch is engaged as we handle tools, light candles, and more. The sense of taste is only accessed as a means of grounding with cakes and ale. And, we are alerted to awareness and being fully present in ritual space or meditative practice as the heady scent of incense and oils purify and set the stage for the work at hand.

Note: There will be collaborative posts speaking to the Physical experience of each of the senses in the Magickally Human Blog.


In esoteric work, stimulating the sense of smell takes many forms. This includes the careful selection of incenses to awaken the senses, fragrant blends of oils used to anoint and purify, flora and greenery from the natural world and a myriad of human scents added as energy rises and celebration, working and altered consciousness take hold. All of these scents act and react with the emotions evoked and the desire for goal that is fueled by the emotional need. Even the scent of a fragrance filled candle or recently extinguished candle trigger a variety of emotions and thoughts.

Breath and air are key players in energy practice and with the inhalation through the nose all the senses are alerted that spiritual practice has begun. There are multiple scents that we are completely unaware of at a conscious level, but are nonetheless part of the sensory experience. With that thought in mind, carefully choose where you engage in your meditation or ritual practice. If possible, try to find a place where the air is clear, if indoors and not near a heavily traveled area if outdoors. Nature settings are preferable for a variety of reasons, but the scents that surround you will be supportive in allowing you to engage all of your being in the practice.

The Pituitary Gland

The seven endocrine glands are vital components in developing spiritual awareness. Each of the glands has a specific function and contribution towards the overall evolution of spiritual progress. Just behind the bridge of the nose sits the pituitary gland, the master regulator of all the glandular system. A symptom of a Pituitary tumor is decreased sensation of smell confirming the relationship of this sense with that of the endocrine system.

This gland is stimulated by the use of incense and specific oils during meditation and ritual work which in turn signals to the nervous system that sacred work is at hand. Many of the incenses used in ritual work, such as Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal have been used in this manner for centuries so the energetic inroads have been laid in opening the user to latent memory and spiritual action. Bundled Sage is the scent of choice for shamanistic work and purifying space of unwanted negative energies. It is for this very reason that most seekers on a spiritual path incorporate some sort of olfactory component into their work.

Begin your own exploration of smell and make note of what impact certain scents have on your spiritual work. Try different incense or oils as you sit in meditation and see what different emotions are evoked. See the mediation below to get you started.

Journey of the Senses
An Incense Meditation from the Daily OM


“When we focus on incense sticks during meditation, we move into a mystical space that is both physical and spiritual at once. Like us, the incense stick is earthbound with an ember that burns for only a finite time, but the diaphanous spirit it releases is unbound by time or space. Rather than shutting down our senses to focus on an inner realm, incense involves our senses as we follow whirling smoke upward and outward while we take its scent into us, filling us as we breathe”…… Read More

Companion Post:
Magickally Human
Engaging the Senses:Part One

Next Post
Part Two: Sight (Visualization)



About themagickalpen

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and also serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path. Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and theWestern Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice. A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers. Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degrees within the Assembly Tradition. As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she has used Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work. Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally. She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented. She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival this Summer. Her most recent project is hosting an online blogging community entitled The Pagan Experience. Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 43-year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education. Robin's esoteric writings can be found on her blogs.
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3 Responses to Sensing the Subtleties: Part One

  1. Pingback: Engaging the Senses | Magickally Human

  2. Pingback: The Smells and Bells | A Witch's Sacred Journey

  3. Pingback: Your Inner Landscape | A Witch's Sacred Journey

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