Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep a wink Sunday night, or it could be because my last yoga class closed with it permeating the air, or perhaps it’s because I’m growing it this summer. Whatever the reason, I cannot get lavender off my mind. Before I made a commitment to training my nose, lavender was one of the scents I could always detect. For me, that terpenic minty fragrance evokes the moon. One good whiff of lavender takes me back to a night when I was about thirteen and having trouble sleeping. My mom doused me in lavender oil and sent me back to bed. Like clockwork I was out in seconds.
Associating lavender with the moon is not a novel concept. The ancient Egyptians would use the plant in their funerary customs. They believed that the saved souls would be ushered into the next life at night. It’s rumored that during the Black Plague English grave robbers would bathe in lavender to protect themselves from the ailment. Today you can find a slue of pillow sprays, essential oils, and perfumes either made mostly of lavender or at the very least containing it as a note. Lavender has earned quite the reputation for being one of the most soothing and relaxing scents.
My last yoga class ended with us sealing our practice with palms pressed against our closed eyes and lavender pillows placed throughout the studio. It was practically spiritual the way our instructor’s words hung in the air amongst the purplely piney smell. Our instructor ended by proclaiming: “You can only control what you give your attention and intention to.” The more I think about that the more I realize lavender’s strength. Lavender can bring you to a place of deep relaxation and solitude. It is in that state that one can find humility and peace. Rejuvenation is about cleansing oneself of the dirt, the grime, the anxieties, and all of the distractions. Some of my best work happens in the middle of a small cloud of lavender incense smoke.
Taking all of the above in as I stare down at my baby green plants, I am excited for their potential. Maybe I’ll turn them into perfume, maybe a tea for my dreaded migraines, or perhaps a cocktail. One deep sniff of my little plants, and I’m brought back to my mother’s hugs, my childhood room, contemplating life in my college dorm room at 3a.m., and those warm and necessary baths. I can imagine the Egyptians stuffing their mummies with the flowers, grave robbers stomping around in the dead of night, and of course the moon. Don’t you think the moon would smell like lavender?
*Thanks for reading,