Good Friday

(Pointing) It’s March’s fault!  She just made me think of some things in her post yesterday, and because today is Good Friday, this just seemed to fit. So indulge me.  And this does get back to scent/perfume, so I hope it won’t be a wasted journey, and I’ll try to keep it as brief as I can. 

When my dad died ten years ago, my grief was so profound, I felt completely empty.  There was almost nothing of me left as I contemplated living the rest of my life without him in it.  As Grief became my BFF, it consumed my pride and ego, and it was in that sadness and solitude that I found peace and gentleness and a softness towards other people that I did not think I possessed anymore. Remember, at that point in my life, I was a twice-divorced atheist with a really bad attitude towards God and human beings — believing both (if the one existed) to be incapable of anything but the worst traits. It struck me, in the depths of my grief, as completely weird that when I stopped thinking and caring about me, I became a person that I liked.  That is humility, and aside from the horrendous grief at my loss, it was the perfect state for my soul and it was the place I found my faith and chose it. 

Now, of course I healed and resumed my self-centered, ego-driven, prideful personage for the most part, but I constantly seek that humility, though I rarely achieve it (Catholics may now go to the Litany of Humility  — you know the drill).   There’s a joke where the pious guy says to his friend, “The thing I’m most proud of is my humility.” 

On Good Friday, I always find humility in the church, during that long three-hour service on Friday afternoon where we are doing Catholic calisthenics mostly on our knees.  So for a couple of days, I return to my humble state for at least a few days, and I am full of gratitude. Gratitude for all the blessings I have had in my life, grateful for my family and friends, grateful that so many of you share your day with us, a little bit of your lives, and your passion.  I’m also grateful that my Le Labo Olfactionary finally showed up, and I’ll give y’all a review next week of it.  It is simply the most fun I have had in a while.  Lord, I am as shallow as a creek in Texas… in August, and I’m counting on you to make me deep.

Which finally leads me round to my point, what scent do I wear for humility?  I have thought and thought since yesterday on what scent to wear to church today and what scent to wear for Easter Sunday, and I’ve come up with a couple, but I’d love to hear your ideas, too.

For Good Friday — To contemplate the denouement of my pride requires something with thorny, difficult layers while still retaining hope that I’ll stop being such a selfish flibbertygibbet one day.  Parfum Sacre extrait seems to be the perfect fit here, but it isn’t difficult enough, except in actually getting it?  Will this work?

For Easter Sunday — joyous celebration of God saving our sorry butts, this has to be Parfumerie Generale’s Ether Lilas. I was first thinking Le Labo Aldehyde 44, but it seems just a little too frivolous.

All of you celebrating Easter or Passover, all my best wishes for a gentle and joyous holiday. For those of you who do not celebrate some version of a religious holiday right about now, hey, it’s spring, time for a Bacchanalian celebration of epic proportions that this long, cold winter is over.  (this is the nicest Bacchanalian depiction I could find, which is painted by Constantin Makovsky)

  • Melanie says:

    The only perfume that comes to my mind for the celebration of Easter, seems to be Clinique Aromatics Elixir. It reminds me of the spices used in Jesus’ shroud in the grave, and for me Easter is the remembrance of His victory over sin and death by rising from the grave on the third day. So perhaps just a soupcon of Aromatics Elixir. Can anyone think of a similar scent that wouldn’t be quite so forceful?

  • Sean says:

    Is thi Olfactionary worth the price for it’s raw ingredients? How easy is it to go buy your own fragrance materials and make a kit for yourself?

    As well, is there a list of what is inside this kit? I can’t seem to get any info out of the Le Labo website…

    Oh..and sorry for being so questiony :d

  • pitbull friend says:

    OK, Maria & Louise. Excuse me while I grin ever so sheepishly. And ecumenically. Because I checked my notes and the fragrance that reminded me of the Havdalah spices was …. Etro’s Messe de Minuit!!! :”>

    Not a surprise really, since the notes are orange, bergamot, tangerine, incense, myrrh, cinnamon, patchouli, honey, amber, and musk. I guess myrrh and incense were sitting in for cloves in my mind. I don’t think I’ve seen such varied adjectives in any other reviews — folks referred to Goths, Orthodox churches, Roman baths, cathedrals, Sophia Loren, mustiness, old books, sweetness, brightness, claustrophobia (Lee on Bois de Jasmin), cinnamon roses (March on BdJ), and sunshine (Dinazad’s exquisite description on BdJ). Apologies if I left anyone thinking that I had some secret scent to share! –Ellen

    • Maria B. says:

      =)) Well, Ellen, I do like Messe de Minuit, the Rorschach test of fragrances. (You bet I looked up that spelling.) Havdalah spices–why not. Thanks for looking it up.

      • Louise says:


        You have made a breakthrough-now I understand why all the descriptors never fit (certainly not goth)-it’s my grandma and havdalah that so pulls me in with MdM-thanks! Happy Pesach!

  • Louise says:

    Pls see my misplaced post at #12.

    • Louise says:

      Rats-I can’t thread now! the above is for pitbull, especially, but for all who are grieving now.Hug.

  • Louise says:

    I mentioned above that this is my Dad’s 1st yahrzeit this week (for the non-Jews-that’s the anniversary of the death).

    Same for my sis and I-she cried easily at first, I was frozen. In time the tears have come, but we all mourn in our own way.

    • Maria B. says:

      Louise, I’m sorry. My mother died May of last year. The time right after is a haze. I know I spent a lot of time in bed. Eventually I started grieving in a more traditional way. I still have more than one nightmare a week about her Alzheimer’s. I’m an only child.

  • Amy says:

    Beautiful post. I’m a lapsed Episcopalian here, still in my quasi-agnostic stage and most likely stuck here for life. After studying religion and realizing that the stories and saviors are mostly cut and pasted from other stories in other religions that came before, I lost the ability to turn of the cynical part of my brain that says, “Wow, nobody knows what the heck is going on, but they all pretend to. Marx was right.” I’m comfortable (happy, actually) with the idea of a higher power, but I guess the contrived man-made rituals of organized religion just make me feel more removed from him/her/it instead of closer. I can’t imagine a higher power caring if I listen to and repeat a prayer someone else wrote. My God is outside of church.

    Have a great weekend, believers and non-believers alike. I’ll probably wear Shaal Nur on Sunday.

  • chayaruchama says:

    A propos of scents:
    Anything with myrrh, nard, or frankincense, to link to the ancients- L’Air du Desert, Rykiel Woman, Shisha.
    The Eternal Return makes me feel like La Chasse Extreme- not one you would necessarily think of as ‘me’. Also, CB’s To See A Flower, Chamade [with its hyacinth !]L’Air de Molinard, Vent Vert.

    I observe everything, ‘cos I’m nuts that way.
    Pure desire.

    So many losses and remembrances- and these holidays dredge them up…

    Today, it’s 34 years since my dad dropped dead.
    Good Friday was one week before my 18th birthday, that year.
    I feel for all those who’ve loved, and lost.
    But I feel their presence still.

    Allison- the lindens !
    Dear God- my favorite…
    Best memory: being pregnant in linden-blooming time, and feeling so in concert with nature.
    [No wonder Mahler wrote this line-
    “Wie lieblich ist der lindenduft”]
    Eau de Ciel is my linden HG.

    • pitbull friend says:

      Chaya, you write so beautifully that it stands out even among this talented bunch. I hope this doesn’t sound strange, but you’re much younger than I would have guessed — there is a serene wisdom in your writing that usually requires more aging. Lovely. Peace to you on this day of memory. –Ellen

      • Maria B. says:

        Ellen is right. I keep having to remind myself you’re two years younger than I am, a squirt. :d

  • Allison in MA says:


    Thank you for your thought provoking post. I lost my father in 2004 and I’m still grappling with a lot of emotional turmoil, the processing of which I accept as an ongoing journey in my life.
    When I think of humility, I think of being in a “stripped down” state of mind, I also associate it with a state of letting go and acceptance. So I would opt for a scent that is simple, perhaps a soliflore. I also think some of Olivia Giacobetti’s creations could fit the bill, like Cinq Mondes. Her scents have been described as translucent, which I think is fitting.

    For Easter, I’m going to wear Tilleul because it triggers one my earliest memories of linden tree lined streets in my neighborhood. It brings me back to a simpler, carefree time, which I think is appropriate for celebrating new life.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Patty says:

      Oh, i’m so sorry. I think the first few years after the loss of a parent are so hard. Even after ten years, I miss him and wish he were around to know his grandchildren.

      yes, that is exactly it for humility. I’ve never smelled Cinq Mondes, I must rectify that. Okay, y’all have given me a lot of ideas, now I’m paralyzed with indecision. :-< you have a wonderful weekend, too, Allison!

    • pitbull friend says:

      Allison, I’m sorry about your dad. It definitely does take a long time to reach equilibrium. What a good point about the Giacobetti scents! Were the lindens in MA? I lived in Boston for 4 years, out by Cleveland Circle. The blossoming northern magnolias & dogwoods down Comm. Ave every spring made my heart glad. –Ellen

  • Marina says:

    Just wanted to give you a great big hug, Patty. Happy Easter!

  • pitbull friend says:

    Hey, Patty: WOWWOWWOW! What an amazing prayer! Judith: That is a great joke, and so essentially Jewish! Funny that, though Jewish commentary makes quite a point of charity only being charitable if done anonymously, I never see an “Anonymous Wing” when I go into a Jewish hospital!:) Carmen: thank you for the mental image of the batter-dabbed Spaniards — how lovely!

    Hey, I’ve heard that “Passage d’Enfer” does mean “passage through hell,” but it also means “rite of passage.” Does that help?

    Though I love Judaism and find much to admire about other religions, I’m outside all of them right now. But Sunday is the 9th anniversary of my mom’s death, so perhaps I’ll pour her a cup of coffee and thank her for making me so irascibly me…

    • Patty says:

      A wonderful idea! I think people are where they should be. I’m such a flibbertygibbet, I really need the discipline of a church to make sure I pay attention to my spiritual life.

      You are an absolutely wonderful person, your mother would be so proud. 🙂

      • pitbull friend says:

        Awwwwww. Thanks, Patty. Although I can cry at almost anything, I didn’t cry the first year after she died. My sister (who was crying daily) was offended at first, but then she realized: “You’re so much like her that she must not seem gone as much to you.” This could explain why I talk to myself more than I used to!:-@

    • Maria B. says:

      Hi, Ellen, did you figure out which fragrance resembled the smell of the spicebox? Sitting here on tenterhooks. 🙂

  • Elle says:

    Beautiful post, Patty. I adore Easter for the symbolism and my atheist parents still had huge parties each year for Russian Easter since, party sl*ts that they were, they couldn’t resist the opportunity to serve the food, etc. 🙂 Am not going to church this Sunday, but am going to wear Zagorsk and quietly celebrate/worship in our woods.
    Am super psyched that you got your Olfactionary! I’m going to vicariously enjoy it through your post about it – can’t wait!

    • Patty says:

      I think Easter, whether beleiver or no, is a great time for a party, regardless!

      The olfactionary is seriously cool, especially for me, who has a terrible time identifying a lot of notes. I get the feel of a perfume, but analyzing what note is where is so hard to do, and this is a great tool for people like me. Darn expensive, though.

  • March says:

    When we lived in New Mexico, during holy week people would make a walking pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayo. Some people just walked; some people carried large crosses. Some people (and families) did it every year. Some of them did it as supplication; some did it in response to answered prayers. Some people walked for days from further south. I always found it very moving.

    I agree with Judith that, other than the name, Passage d’Enfer would be perfect!

    Also, I found your prayer! It’s from Mark (duh.) In the KJV it’s “Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief.”

    Happy Easter, hon.@};-

    • Patty says:

      yes, that’s the one! I un-Kin James it. 🙂 There’s another one from I think St. Francis of Assissi, that goes something like, Keep an eye on me, Lord, or I will stab you in the back at the first opportunity. That’s not the exact text, but that’s the intent.

      I love those processions. I’ve never been to Chimayo, but I would so love to go. As well as going to some of the other shrines, like Lourdes and Medjugorge, etc. When we were in Milan, they have a monster Duomo that is just freaking gorgeous and dark and is perfection, and the story was that one of the nails from the cross was clear up in a case in the ceiling, one that Constatine’s mother had found during her pilgrimage to Jerusalem and gave to them.

      That same duomo was the site of our encouter with St. Charles of Borromeo, at least we think that’s who it was. I have to preface this with my husband is somewhat irreligious and he is totally not a believer in ghosts or spirits, etc., and I’m really not either. So in the basement of the duomo, they keep their bodies of saints, or some of them, some of them are upstairs. We took the tour, and we went to the one, and there was a screen gate so you couldn’t go in, you could only stand at the doorway, but it wasn’t very well marked. We stood there for a while, and then we both kind of broke away at the same time, and I looked at Warren and go, “Um, did you feel… something? Not to be weird.” He freaks out, “You felt that?!” We had both felt the same thing, and it was this tremendous presence there. Definitely benevolent, but it was seriously taking up space and air. I felt like all the air had been sucked out of my body and time was stopped for just a little bit. Never felt it before or since.

      I wanna go back and see if he’s still there! He’s one of my favorite saints.

  • Judith says:

    Have a wonderful Easter. I actually think Passage d’Enfer, with its lilies and incense, would make a wonderful choice, but its name might be a deterrent.:)

    On pride of humility:
    There’s an old Jewish joke, which I will try to abbreviate as follows.
    It’s Yom Kippur, and the Rabbi comes into the shul, throws himself in front of the altar, and says, “Oh, Lord, forgive me, for I am nothing.”
    Then the cantor comes in throws himself down, and says “Oh Lord, forgive me, for I am nothing.”
    The temple president comes in, throws himself down, and says, “Oh Lord, I am nothing.”
    Then the guy who helps clean up (he has a name but it’s not important) comes in, throws himself down and says, “Oh Lord, I am nothing.”
    The rabbi turns to the other two, rolls his eyes, and says, “Look who thinks he’s nothing!”

    Happy Easter, Passover, or Spring Equinox celebration of your choice to everyone!

    • chayaruchama says:

      Hey, Judith-
      Love that !
      I hope your Pesach nurtures your soul.
      NOT easy to do, in the modern world..

      I love your mea culpa candor, your sweet / tartness, and your reluctantly Orthodox soul.

      I’m observing by wearing scents that span the link to the ancient world, and the paganism of the Eternal Return.

      [BTW- L’Artisan is coming out with a spikenard frag- I smelled a sample on Dr. Dotson, and it is spectacular. Very ‘Song of Songs’ , to me…]

      Let me extend my arms to you all, in this Holy Week.
      May we experience joy, enlightenment, and some form of peace in our lifetimes..

      I love you folks dearly.

      • Judith says:

        Chaya–The love–and humor–you always spread certainly helps (me and everyone else)!:x

      • Patty says:

        You are such a treasure, I hope you know that.

        So what scents are you wearing for Passover? I wish I lived closer to you, I’d make you take me with you. I almost converted years ago to Judaism, but the Rabbi and I talked, and he asked me if I could get past the Jesus thing, and I really couldn’t. /:)

        But I still wish I could go to the Jewish holiday celebrations, but I’d only go with a friend, and I don’t know have any practicing Jewish friends locally. 🙁

        • Louise says:

          Thanks-loved the Jewish joke-captures our fine and odd sense of humor.

          Makes me miss my father-he died one year ago on first day Passover. He was the funniest human alive, and I keep remembering his scripted and unscripted jokes.

          For this week-I am wearing occasional squirts of MdM-it’s oddly comforting. I am also beheading easter bunnies and gorging on Dove easter eggs. I love the renewal part of this season.

    • Judith says:

      Wanted to add (because I foolishly didn’t), that I love the humility prayer, and find your story incredibly moving. I had a somewhat similar experience after my mother died. 😡

      • Patty says:

        I *love* that joke. I always like hanging out with this group because all of you are so smart and funny and wonderful, I can much more easily recognize my own shortcomings. 🙂

        Losing a parent is so hard. I think some of it is they are our emotional girder through our lives, and when one or both of them are gone, we have to grapple with finding a foundation again, and we confront how truly small and helpless we are when life just smacks us around.

  • carmencanada says:

    Patty, I’m like Dusan, not at all a religious person – blame the nuns of my Catholic high school, and the ones who taught my mother… However, I love the Holy Week because it lead to the celebration of rebirth. Because of many happy memories of the Semana Santa in Seville, it smells to me of church incense, beeswax, lilies decorating the “pasos” holy statues are carried on through the city, the rosemary cologne Spaniards douse themselves with, a touch of fried batter from the churros they eat at 3 AM while following the processions… I’d love to recreate that heady, sensuous smell. It will be either Fleurs d’Orangers or Un Lys to celebrate on Sunday!

    • Patty says:

      Semana Santa sounds heavenly! I love those raucous celebrations. I’ve never been in one, but I see the films, and I keep thinking we could all use with a little more exuberance in our Holy Day celebrations. Celebrate it like you mean it!

      Those darn nuns. 🙁 I grew up with a LOT of kids that went to very small Catholic schools in rural Kansas, and as their schools closed, they moved to our public school, and so many of their memories are of getting their hands whacked, of whippings, a lot of God hates bad boys/girls crap. It is tragic that their association with what should be so joyous is full of bad memories created by unhappy people that should have never been around children. I know that’s not the rule, but I know it happened too often during certain periods. It makes me so sad.

  • Dusan says:

    “as shallow as a creek in Texas” – oh I love you Miss Patty, you know that! You, selfish? Puhleeese!
    Being the black atheist sheep in the family doesn’t stop me from enjoying the joyous atmosphere of Easter or Christmas. I love being around people those days, it gives me a great buzz. Now, a scent for humility – hm, um, perhaps an austere incense like the Aedes Room Spray by L’Artisan? It smells like the inside of an Orthodox church. Chergui is my Easter day scent being a warm, almost gourmand incense that makes me want to hug everyone around me.
    I’ll join Patty and Maria in wishing a happy Easter/Passover to all of you amazing, kind people. You are my family! 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Oh, Chergui for Easter, that could definitely work. Must ponder. I think all holidays are wonderful. During Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashannah, I always wish I could be Jewish and Catholic. I always think that it is a great thing, whether one is religious or not — and some days I don’t feel religious either — to just enjoy holidays for what they symbolize, believe it or no! [-o< Hugs to you, darling!

  • Maria B. says:

    Hi, Patty, thank you for your post. I’ve learned that humility and gratitude, together, are essential for a good life, and I would say, a happy life also.

    I was unfamiliar with the Litany of Humility. I’m grateful you posted it. It’s wonderful. Some of the requests in it made me feel very uncomfortable–which just goes to show how good it is.

    For Good Friday, you might consider a scent that evokes burning, suggesting the ashes of penitence as well as the fire of God’s love. CB Faggot may be a good one for this purpose, or some other of his smoke scents. You mentioned Le Labo–how about their Patchouli 24 with its strong blast of pitch, a reminder of the Passion?

    As for Easter, gosh, go to town with happiness. I think of white flowers in connection with Easter: Carnal Flower, Fracas, La Haie Fleurie, Nuit Noire? But Ether Lilas would be lovely. I should get a sample of that before the perfume disappears. I don’t want another one to get away.

    Happy Passover, Easter, and spring flowers to you, Patty, and to the rest of you wonderful people!

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, the Litany of Humility makes me squirm uncontrollably. I need it more often than I use it. :d

      Hey, I think Faggot might be the one! Or Burning Leaves? Yeah, I think that’s the way to go on that, burned ashes. I might even do the Holy Smoke with it. and/or holy water. Have you smelled that one?

      I don’t have the Le Labo Patchouli, but I did order it.

      Happiest of Easters to you!!!

      • Maria B. says:

        Well, Patty, I can tell by the clock over my desk that you must already have made your Good Friday decision, as your three-hour service must have started. I’m sure you chose well.

        I’ve only tried one Demeter. I’m looking forward to the May samples. Holy Smoke and Holy Water are on my wish list. I’m not saying you’ll like Le Labo Patchouli. It takes birch tar to an extreme. For me it’s more of an experience. I don’t find the scent pleasant, yet I’m drawn to it. It reminds me of something I can’t quite get a hold of.