At a recent event where I took questions from the audience, an elderly woman asked: "Can a spirit visit a house and leave a scent?" I smiled, and told her that was very likely. Loved ones who have passed into spirit want us to know that they’re still with us, and one way of doing that is by leaving a "calling card" that identifies the spirit – a fragrance unique to that person, a knock on the door or, in some cases, a soft voice that calls our name. The woman nodded, then said sadly, "A couple days after my husband died, I smelled his cologne in the kitchen. Was that his way of saying goodbye?"
I told the group this woman had experienced clairolfaction – the ability to "smell" a spirit energy. For example, when my husband Benjamin smells cigar smoke – and no smokers are around – he knows his maternal grandfather Benjamin Baron is there.
Another woman shared a story of dreaming about her father, a geography teacher, a week after he’d died of a heart attack. "He was sitting at his favorite desk correcting student papers," she said. "Suddenly, the picture went white. The light was so intense, I woke up."
"I think your father was telling you he was alright," I said. "He was showing you that he has gone into the light. That’s another way spirit visits us – they come in a dream."
Later, the woman who’d scented her husband’s cologne approached and introduced herself as Sarah. "What you said about your husband smelling cigar smoke, and his grandfather continuing to visit," she began. "Why doesn’t my husband Jack ever come to me anymore? Did I do something to make him angry?"
"Not at all," I assured her, then told her of the loving presence that I felt was near. I tried to bring the spirit closer to me, but there seemed to be a hesitancy on his part. "Was Jack a shy man?"
"He was quiet around others, but he was quite comfortable with me," she said fondly. "And he could be pretty stubborn at times."
Jack came closer, and in my mind I saw him tucking his wife into bed at night. "Do you ever think you feel his presence before you go to sleep? Or do you ever hear knocking around the house?"
"I don’t think so," she said, uncertain. "After I thought I smelled his cologne that time, I felt so sad I went to the store and bought a bottle of it. Sometimes I spray it in the air to remind me of him."
Aha! I thought, and told Sarah to put the bottle away. She looked aghast.
"I might be going out on a limb, Sarah, but I believe Jack wants to tell you in his own way that he’s still watching over you. Trust that he’s with you, by letting his scent come from his spirit, not a bottle."
Sarah smiled again and thanked me for my words. On the way out of the room, I smelled Old Spice and stopped a moment. I closed my eyes and remembered my dad’s bristly cheeks in the morning, when I was a little girl. After shaving, he’d splash on a little Old Spice before heading to work. That scent is one of the ways I know my dad is nearby. I thanked him for visiting, took another deep breath, and held it as long as I could.
If you have any questions or comments on this subject or on any other spiritual matter, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please visit me again!