anyone know why sandalwood is associated with magic and witchcraft? What does pure sandalwood smells like anyway?
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Frankincense is more associated with magic than sandalwood is, owing to its long use in religious fumigation, and offerings to spirits. Like frankincense, sandalwood is a very mood-changing substance - uplifting, exalting... It is easy to see why some people would be inclined to associate it with magic. But one must roll one's eyes at 'magicians' all the same.
There is an old saying in South-East Asia, that agarwood/gaharu/oud is the pure gold of scent, and sandalwood is the silver. That hints at the high esteem it is held in. It is diffcult to explain what pure sandalwood oil of the best grade is like, though from what I have observed on basenotes oud (with which I am not at all familiar) seems to be harder still. Creamy, woody, a little sweet, sure. But it is not like anything else. I miss the days when Mysore sandalwood oil could be obtained cheaply.
By now I try to combine a good East Indian sandalwood (santalum album) with small dollops of genuine orris. It's not so easy to preserve a lubricated fresh green aspect in the sandalwood against some sparkling rasp which peculiarly arises with more orris. In correct proportions, may be lavender added it feels like soft falling snow. The calming effect of genuine sandalwood could be described as being magic.
You are exactly correct about the calming property.
After years of "do what thou wilt", my guess is that it has more to do with marketing than anything. You know, like diamonds not being as popular until they were marketed right or U.S. women not shaving their armpits until marketed in the early part of the 20th century.
I seriously doubt you would find any reference to ritually using sandalwood in any Western, pre-Crawley magical texts.
Of course sandalwood has been used (probably since before written history) for religious reasons in the East where it was plentiful. I conjecture that 20th century authors, self-made mystics, magicians, etc. exploited the various religious counterculture movements, drawn to religions & philosophies in the East -- far from what most parents followed -- in the circa & post 1960's era, sort of like how the "granite countertops" trend of today will create an entire generation of people that will demand even the McDonald's of year 2035 to serve Big Macs on granite trays. An entire generation will salivate like Pavlovian dogs at the sight of granite. Freakonomics.
Sandalwood is a little psychoactive.
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I heard from sources and I believe that brand of Incense was discontinue long ago about 60 years give or take, if your Using Joseph C. Lisiewski Ceremonial Magic book that has the Heptameron. He recommend that brand of Incense, you might have a hard time finding it.
Because it magically disappears 'just like that' after a few hours...