Scent has long been an integral part of spiritual practices all over the world. Incense smoking on altars during prayer; flower garlands strung up for festivals; bundled herbs burnt for purification; precious oils anointing those in need of protection and blessings—no matter the ritual, scent encourages transcendence.
When it comes to your own spiritual practice, incorporating scent can help you connect with different types of energy and evoke emotions by triggering memories—reminding you of a loved one who has passed, or a meaningful cultural ceremony—and easing you into a state of being that you hope to embody, such as calmness or confidence.
As a spiritual tool, tarot cards similarly use symbolic language to point you towards messages that help you gain clarity about yourself or a situation you’re experiencing. Like scent, the images on every card evoke a deeply personal response, unlocking memories and associations that are unique to you.
Making your own associations between the cards and symbols in your own life (including scents, as well as things like animal omens, songs, movie characters, pieces of clothing, and colors) helps you deepen your understanding of the messages that the cards are communicating to you. To inspire your exploration of using scent as a part of your spiritual practice, we’ve paired five vitruvi blends with cards from the Rider-Waite Smith tarot deck.
Clean Sweep with Ace of Wands
Traditionally, the Minor Arcana—the suit cards in a tarot deck—begins with the suit of Wands, and that in turn starts with the Ace. This card represents new beginnings, potential, and inspiration. It’s the spark that starts a fire; an electric connection with another person; the sudden moment of insight that ends a creative block. If you’re kicking off a project or trying something new, you can immerse yourself in the feelings of passion and excitement represented by the Ace of Wands with Clean Sweep: an invigorating blend of Pine, Lemon, and Clove. This blend lifts your mood and makes your space feel like a clean slate, so that you can focus on putting your ideas into action.
Nightcap with Nine of Swords
Swords often depict life’s challenges—particularly the ways our own minds can turn against us. The Nine of Swords shows a familiar scene: someone waking up from a bad dream in the middle of the night. With a warm blend of Black Pepper, Blood Orange, and Ginger, Nightcap offers a grounding reprieve from wheeling anxious thoughts. The figure in the card is covered by a quilt decorated with roses and the signs of the zodiac; these symbols represent compassionate, loving kindness and spiritual support. Reaching for comforting scents that soothe the nervous system can help you calm your worried imagination.
Quiet with Queen of Cups
In solitude, we’re able to reconnect with the deeper parts of ourselves and pay attention to our inner knowing. This is the Queen of Cups’ mission. She meditates on the mysteries of creation and magic, symbolized by the Holy Grail, and brings the wisdom she discovers up from the depths to those on land. Like the selkie, she belongs both to the waters of the metaphysical world and to the beaches of conscious reality. To put yourself in the same contemplative, trance-like state, diffuse Quiet with its mystical bouquet of Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Amyris, and Clary Sage. Use the space the scent creates to explore your intuition and psychic abilities.
Retreat with Seven of Pentacles
As the saying goes, the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. The Seven of Pentacles symbolizes patience, hope, perseverance, and surrender. Things will take the time that they need to take. This card is about trusting that you’ve already done everything in your power to achieve your desired outcome, and now it’s time to step back. It’s important to keep the faith, both in your vision and in yourself, while you’re waiting. Retreat’s citrusy sparkling notes of Grapefruit, Palmarosa, and Eucalyptus uplift your senses as you relax after a job well done, and remind you of the juicy fruits of your labor that you’re sure to harvest when the time comes.
Sweet Water with Judgement
Another name for the Judgement card could be Revelation or, as in the Greek word apokalypsis, Unveiling. As a part of the Major Arcana (the trump cards of a tarot deck), Judgement refers to significant moments that lead to the development of your character. Judgement points towards uncovering your authenticity, being honest with yourself and others, and making discoveries about who you are. It can also signal that some truth will be revealed, allowing you to move forward with a new perspective. Support yourself on this path to clarity with Sweet Water, a blend including Grapefruit, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Caraway. The bright, fruity top notes encourage alert awareness while the warm, earthy base notes keep you grounded in your sense of purpose.
Discovering parallels between scent and the archetypes represented in each tarot card is a way to illuminate their meanings. It brings the energetic signature of important cards into your everyday routines.