My Chakras

He had the best of intentions, which can be incredibly endearing or incredibly annoying. Happily, on a recent Saturday in Boston, I was in good-enough spirits to find his assistance on the side of the former. In the Aveda store in Copley Place, he approaches me at the end of my rope of hope, but just prior to cranky rudeness. After searching through the Jo Malone offerings at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, I had just about given up on finding an everyday fragrance for the fall. I was looking for something more natural, something with cedar or sandalwood, maybe some juniper or pepper or moss. I guess I was looking for something… earthy. (While Tom Ford’s Private Blends will always comprise my favorite colognes, they’re so rarified and expensive that I save them for special events.) For everyday wear, I tend to be a little more practical, which also led me briefly to Sephora, but I really wanted something simpler, less traditionally cologne-like.

Crabtree & Evelyn used to have an incredible line of aromatherapy products for relaxation that was almost an exact match to the Quintessence essence that the Mandarin Oriental uses in some of its spa treatments. (In fact, it was the Quintessence fragrance that I was after, but at $40 for a small bottle of shower gel, I didn’t bother looking to see if they offered it in an Eau de toilette or body spray.) Thus, my visit to Aveda, and the almost-too-helpful salesperson who stood before me with an animated explanation of their line of Chakra fragrances.

He produced a long pamphlet of the seven chakras, along with their symbols, colors, and a meditative word, asking me to pick out the three that spoke to me the most. I stopped him, perhaps a bit abruptly, explaining that this was a little too new-agey for me, and that I was basically just looking for a certain fragrance that I would know when I smelled it. He looked slightly crestfallen, so I said I’d pick out my favorite colors and words and symbols and try those fragrances first (even if I just wanted to sniff them all quickly and pick out the one I liked best).

Based on the corresponding colors and words alone, I ended up choosing the following:

  • Chakra #1 – “Grounded” ~ [Color: red] – Aroma: Organic patchouli, vetiver and olibanum
  • Chakra #3 – “Intention” ~ [Color: yellow] – Aroma: Organic fir balsam, lavender and lemon
  • Chakra #5 – “Expressive” ~ [Color: light blue] – Aroma: Organic grapefruit, rosemary, ylang ylang

He sprayed each on a sample strip, waving them one by one in front of my nose. While the aroma descriptions attached to each sounded decent, the reality was decidedly less so. In fact, the ones I had picked, based on such an expert, intuitive selection process were, well, gross. I didn’t say that part out loud. (My heart will always go out to a retail clerk doing what he is supposed to do, so earnestly and fervently, and I’ll never take out my personal disappointment on someone only doing his job, even if he ended up saying that my selections were “all over the place!”)

The simple fact was that I was more concerned with the scent than the chakra and the meaning. If you tell me my back will be helped by something that smells like vomit, I’m not buying it. If you tell me that the scent of cedar and lavender will only cure my pinky, I’ll have the healthiest pinky ever. And so we ended up doing what I had tried to suggest from the beginning – trying the fragrances out and seeing which ones actually appealed to my sense of, you know, smell.

They ended up being the following:

  • Chakra #4 – “Harmony” ~ [Color: green] – Aroma: Organic sandalwood, mandarin, and palmarosa {“Chakra 4 is located in the center of the chest and relates to sympathy, empathy and love. When the heart chakra is balanced, one feels love and connection to self and others. When the heart chakra is imbalanced, one experiences depression, loss of connection and apathy.”}
  • Chakra #6 – “Insight” ~ [Color: dark blue] – Aroma: Organic pettigrain, orange, and geranium {“Chakra 6 is located between the eyebrows and relates to intuition, imagination, and perception. When the intuition chakra is balanced, one feels intuitive, connected and mentally fit. When the intuition chakra is imbalanced, one has mental blocks, over-thinks and lacks depth.”}

Both were much more in line with what I was looking for, fragrance-wise. Perhaps on a deeper level too. The nose knows.


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