And there came Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds weigh. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of Jews is to bury: ST JOHN 19:39:-40
One of the most interesting questions in life is what happens after death? This question is relevant not only to us, the living, but to people we have loved and who are no longer with us - we live in hope that they or their spirit live on. Each spiritual tradition has its answer to 'the big question', and it's very confusing that they differ so much in their beliefs.
Our ancestors didn't have this problem as they usually grew up and didn't have this problem as they usually grew up and lived within one spiritual tradition and adhered to that. Today, people can travel the world, watch TV programmes about other cultures and beliefs, and read innumerable books, with different answers, on the subject. No wonder so many people are in spiritual 'crisis' unsure of where to turn, and even more uncertain about what the inevitable future will bring.
Our source of information comes from near-death experiences, which are remarkably similar: the spirit first floats above the dead body, watching doctors or other people trying to revive it, hearing all that goes on, then they see a bright white light, or a tunnel, appearing before them. At the end of this tunnel, or on the other side of a river, there is someone to greet them, variously described as a lone figure shining brilliantly, an angel, Jesus, a spiritual guide, or loved family members and friends, even pets.
Whatever the difference s in these accounts, one thing is constant: the profound sense of peace. This so envelopes a person, they often don't want to return to this life, but are told their time has not yet come. These near-death experiences are often associated with fabulous fragrances, which are described as 'heavenly', 'delicious', 'unbelievable' and 'indescribable'.
Fragrance plays a unique part in the interfaces between the living and their earlier life, between the living and the dead and between present and past lives. Indeed, aroma is a language that traverses many layers of existence, an avenue not only of exploration but of explanation.
- The most common of these aromatic revelations occurs between people who have died and people they loved who have been left behind. The following story was told to me by a client: "I used to live with this fellow, and loved him very much, but he left me and I never heard from him again. That had been a long time ago. Then, one evening I drove past a road that led to where he lived, and had a very strong urge to drive past his house. I fought the feeling, but it was so difficult and I felt torn apart. I hadn't thought about him for ages but now, all of a sudden, he flooded my mind.
- I was at the traffic lights, telling myself to be strong and not even to think about driving past his house.The lights changed and I drove home. All the way, I had a deep emotional sensation, remembering how good we had been together, and I felt the hurt all over again. Suddenly, the emotion changed, and I felt flooded with love.
- The next day I had almost forgotten about the incident, and was getting on with my work, when I smelled his aftershave. it was an unusual one he'd had sent from Italy. It was my nose, and everywhere I went I could smell it. Suddenly, I knew he'd died and passed on, and this was his way of saying goodbye and that he had really loved me.
- I cried for a while, but the smell kept hitting me, again and again and the love filled me. I must have fallen asleep in the chair, and when I woke up there was no smell. All the pain and hurt I'd felt for years had gone. I knew then I could find someone else because before that I'd always been alone, afraid to be hurt again. His passing and sending me love made me realize I'm lovable and deserve to find another person, and that my life could start again.
- Stories of aromas particularly associated with a person who passed on are not uncommon. It is sometimes the smell of flowers that the loved one liked, or that they used to give to the person left behind. Other smells associated with people also occur, such as perfume, tobacco smoke and aromas associated with their work - coal with coal miners, for example - or of foods they particularly liked, such as garlic.
- The more general aromas of people are also found lingering in the air, and these aromas may be quite imperceptible to others. But, more commonly, the aroma is simply a powerful floral fragrance with no particular connotation to either the recipient or the person who has passed on.