By Heidi Czerwiec

January 21, 2019


I want to tell you that the word 'musk' comes to us from the Sanskrit mushkas, meaning ‘testicle,’ testimony to its source in the aromatic abdominal sacs of musk deer. Muslims considered its scent so divine, they would grind the musk grains into a paste with precious rosewater, add it to the mortared walls of mosques. Imagine how, once warmed – not through the smoke of burnt offerings or incense swung in censers, but by the skin-warmth of the rising sun – the walls exhaled with scent, the very breath of paradise arising to the spires of minarets, inspiring the prayers of the faithful, musk making of the mosque a place to bow down, brought to your knees by a testament of earthly delights converted to sweet scents rising, an ecstasy experienced from deep in your loins.

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