Should you select scent by your zodiac sign? Perhaps. But you’ll get more astrological oomph factor if you go by the elements. Broadly speaking, fragrance can be classified into four families: Ambery*, Woody, Floral and Fresh.
There are no rules to this but it seems that Ambery correlates with Fire, Fresh to Air, Woody to Earth, and Floral to Water. You could choose from the genre that matches your dominant element, to project that even more profoundly OR the one you’re the lowest in, for balance.
Woody aka Green fragrances are affiliated to the Earth element signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. If they smell herbal and actually like the way you might after a roll in the hay/thyme/chamomile/grassy paddock, they’re in this family. You’d choose notes like Vetiver, Pine, Fig, Cedar, and Patchouli.
Emphasizing the Earth element helps to ground flighty minds. Woody scents transmit worldly self-assurance: they signal lack of artifice and the sort of person who knows the provenance of everything.
Air element fragrances are barely there or they come on strong with the top note and then disappear. If they’re synthetics they can come off like bog-freshener one moment, an exquisite classic composition the next. Air signs, right?
They’re from the ‘fresh’ family – citrus, fruity, and the 90s style ‘sea and ozone’ genre. These are brilliant if you’ve had a surfeit of Earth-type concerns – work/money/reality intrusions – or you don’t want the drama of Fire. They’re elevating and their elusiveness is the point.
Floral, the most popular frag family, is – yes – flowers. They’re Water element for the fantasy component: Gardenia, Rose, Jasmine, Lily, and more – the florals aspire to romance and/or the surreal life. They’re not the sort of thing Succession’s Shiv Roy would spritz pre-boardroom takedown – that would be something more brisk and astringent.
Scent is a combination of sorcery and biology. Our innate fragrance signals basic pheromonal truths: that we’re fertile, undiseased or on an adrenal high, ready for a fight. There is probably more complex neurotransmission that a really refined nose – or a wolf – could detect.
Fragrance is a way to game our neurals, to scramble the hormonal message. It’s also a form of magic in that it’s an invisible substance that envelops us and permeates the aura. It floats with the wind. Flowers emit it at particular times, to attract the exact sort of suitor they want. Fine, it’s a bee or even a moth, but still.
This is without even entering into the evocative nature of scent, memory, and its metapoetic associations over the centuries. You know, the Ancient Kemetic people had tiny scented wax hair ornaments that diffused essences like Blue Lotus around them.
Tapputi Belatekalim, the most ‘senior perfumeress’ of old Babylon, created remedial fragrance formulae with ingredients like saffron, opium, and rose water. Composing your own perfume story could be therapeutic too.
Think about the top note – the part of the perfume that you experience at first whiff – being the Ascendant and then the Sun as the base note or ‘heart’ of the fragrance. Would the Moon be the dry-down, the aspect of the scent that lingers after it’s blended with your skin? You could experiment: If you are Gemini Rising, a Water Element scent would evoke your 2nd, 6th, and 10th houses – the vocational sector. If you’re Libra Rising, your significant partnership sector is Fire so you’d bust out the big-aura Opium-esque numbers if you wanted to pull a new Mr/Mrs. Libra.
People are, according to industry research, buying less makeup during the pandemic and when it comes to scent, they’re defaulting to old favorites. Maybe it’s a Proust moment, an olfactory memory enhancer, but it could also be a practical move? They’re augmenting their most optimal elemental signature? Thoughts?
*Ambery is the new Oriental. The influential Michael Edwards switched his industry standard fragrance wheel earlier in 2021. It was for inclusivity and because it smacks of colonialism but also, ‘oriental’ is just illogical: the word means ‘Eastern’ or ‘of the East.’ Having said that, I am still fond of the hybrid word ‘floriental.’