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Mississippi Medicine


Launched in 2011 by D.S. & Durga and like all their scents, this one has a story. The box says that it is “Based on the rituals of the proto-Mississippian death cult of the 1200s”.

Mississippian culture was established from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE and varied regionally. It extended from the Great Lakes area all the way down to Florida and over as far as Texas.

It was a complex culture based on warfare with a rich cosmology based on three levels: the Above World, where the Sun, Moon, and Morning Star lived, the Middle or Upper World where humans lived and the Beneath World, a cold dark place where chaos and death ruled. Each world was represented by different animals.

The three worlds were connected by a central axis – a cedar tree or a pole, painted with red and white stripes and was believed to reach from the Under World to the Above World. Elaborate rituals and ceremonies, using such things fire, herbs, roots, found objects, animal skins and parts, allowed communication among the three levels and was a major part of the S.E.C.C. religion. Well, one sniff of Mississippi Medicine made me a believer.

It opens with a potent note of smoke from birch tar. I see licks of red flame, crimson cinders floating above them and smell the smoke of transformation. Then comes the white spruce, animalic and astringent, it smells of skunk or animal urine and sacrifice. It has been grounded in incense, giving it the deep  smoky smell of ritual and violet smelling cypress root – the tree the Romans believed was the tree of death. There’s violet too, sweet and floral with a mild woodiness – its therapeutic effects are called here to banish pain and infection.

The drydown is smoky, sweet, woody, masculine and flat out sexy. Potent, but not too full-bodied or overpowering, it smells of ritual, divination, medicine, healing and magic. This is a fragrance that was meant to be inhaled.

Notes: birch tar, violet, white spruce, cypress root and incense

Type: Eau de Cologne

Parfumeur: D.S. & Durga

Price: $6.00