Good Morning Witches!
I love me some incense! I have it all, cones, sticks, back flow, non combustibles – and the all the ash catchers, burners, censor’s and thurible’s you could ever want. Ive had good old Nag Champa sticks and cones, frankincense based blends, lavender sticks, Dragon’s blood, High Catholic church blends I love it all!
Back in my miss spent spiritual youth, when I would have classed my self as low Church of England, boarding on Evangelical – makes me shudder when I think about it now, Incense or the use of it was very much seen as the work of the Devil and only used by the followers of the Bishop of Rome, and there for had to be avoided at all cost’s. If you some how stubbled in to a church that used it, then you would politely but loudly cough your way through the Processional Hymn to register your disgust of such things. It wasn’t until I did a complete 360 in my mid twenties, ending up in the Anglican Monasteries that I started to fall In love with Incense being used in a worship setting. As I was Sacristan for a while one of my pleasure’s in Monastic life was getting the Censor ready for a Solomon Evening Song, the smell of the Salt Peter as it fizzed and sparked when you light the Charcoal Puck, furiously wafting a order of service card over it to get the charcoal to glow red and start to turn grey around the edges.
These days I still tend to like to use charcoal and lose incense over sticks and cones, partly as a nod back to my Monastic days and partly because the Ritual of getting a Charcoal Puck ready is part of the magic for me.
A little bit of history – One of the first recorded use of incense was found in inscriptions on the walls of the Pyramids belonging to the 5th & 6th Egyptian Dynasty, although it’s very likely that a it was used well before someone decided to Hieroglyph it on to a wall. There is documented evidence from the Indus River area from 3300BCE and 2000 BCE in China where the use of Cinnamon and Sandalwood where used. Through out History from ancient Egypt to Imperial Japan to the Early Christian church Incense has been used to sanctify, bless and rise up the prayers of the faithfully in just about every tradition know to human kind. The Romans used it in worship as well as to fragrance there homes, as indeed it was in Medieval England (we weren’t to keen on baths back then) Right up to the 16th Century Reformation Incense was used. These days Incense is freely used around the world.
In my Witch Craft I use it for many many things. To cleans, to bless, to add power to spell work, burnt as an offering and some times just cause I like the smell. one of my fav jobs is mixing up my own. In this run up to Lamas I’m planning to make up some this weekend.
Im adapting a recipe I’ve found in Scott Cunningham’s The Complete Book of Incense Oils & Brews based around the some of the floral scents found this time of year. Im using Dragons’ Blood Resin as the base with Heather, Marigold, Sunflower and Rose petals and a few drops of Rosemary oil to keep in slightly bound together. The aim is to grind everything down to bread crumb level. Some book’s say you should do each ingredient separately, but me being a lazy whatsit, I tend to start with the Resin, add the other dried ingredients and then any oils at the end. Rose petals for unconditional love, Rosemary oil for protection, Heather for connecting in to the other words and honouring the Goddess, Sunflower for honouring the God and Marigold for Psychic power.
When I’m blessing a new Tool then I will often pass it through incense smoke as part of the process and I often use incense to help in meditation as well. More often then not my use of incense is to help raise up the energy and set a more appropriate magical atmosphere for my ritual’s and spell work. And as an offering to the Deities.
If you don’t use incense in your craft then I would urge you to give it ago. Obviously if you have breathing problems or you really can’t get on with smoke then using a oil burner will have the same effect with out the smoke. And yes some times I do that too! If your using Charcoal and lose incense then you can keep the ash to use in black salt.
If your new to Incense and especially Charcoal burning, then please do you home work before you rush in. Charcoal Pucks get very hot! Yes it is the same stuff you use on a barbecue! so be mindful of what you’re using to burn it in, what’s around it, and all the other fire safety precautions just the same as you would with a candle. Last thing you need is to burn down the house or cook your fingers like sausage’s.
Hope you all have a lovely and blessed week. Laters Witch’s!