A scent of magic, mystery, remembrance, childhood nostalgia, and sweet blessings to get us through darker times. This year's batch has loads of marshmallows toasted over a maplewood bonfire, crème caramel, candied citron, guaiac wood, vanilla aldehydes, and a puff of woodsmoke.
October 31st marks the end of harvest and the approximate midpoint to the return of the light (winter solstice). In this time of long nights and short days, many believe that the 'doors between worlds' are propped open and ancestors, spirits, and faerie folks are able to visit more easily. Many people light candles and leave plates of sweet treats to help their ancestors find their way home. Bonfires are lit for their powers of cleansing and protection. It is said to be a time when divination games and rituals can give glimpses of the future.
"And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss."
-- from Haunted Houses by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Art: The Lantern Parade by Thomas Cooper Gotch, c. 1918