“I am copacetic with leaning on the sacred, but I need to make sure all the mundane bases are covered before we break out the crystals and incense for a good chant.” – Thomm Quackenbush
What Goes into Magical Incense?
Incense isn’t hard to find. Even so, making things yourself distills distinct energy. With commercial incense, you don’t really know about the manufacturer and employees, let alone the following distributors and store. So many hands; so much handling. When you want incense that has a very personal imprint, the way to do-it-yourself is easier than you might expect.
Light My Fire
Any very dry herbs, citrus rind, flower petals, etc. that are finely ground may be burned as incense in a fire-safe container. Consider purchasing some self-lighting charcoal and putting it in a bed of sand or dirt. Set the container on a trivet to protect sensitive surfaces from heat, and really you are ready to go!
Light the charcoal and wait until it’s hot. Sprinkle in the chosen herb a little at a time until you get the amount of smoke (and aroma) desired. At this junction send up a prayer, wish or spell that clings to the smoke and disperses. It is pretty easy to mix and blend three to four symbolically significant herbs as long as you remember that they don’t always smell the same when burning as they do dry or fresh.
A second good method is similar to the one above except that you begin with about a cup of groundwood shavings. Try using a heavy-duty pencil sharpener to grind up slivers of the kind of wood you want. Don’t forget the scraps from cutting wood for home fireplaces or crafts (ask your friends for remnants).
Pine shavings burn very well and have a nice base scent for almost any blend. Oak is a good choice for a long-burning incense with a neutral base scent. If you’re looking for a particular type of wood for symbolic purposes, check a good lumber supply shop, carpentry centers, or a craft store. These places are likely to stock more exotic woods. Just make sure the timber has not been treated in any way. Burning treated wood can be a health hazard.
Add dried aromatics to this, one tablespoonful at a time, and test the resulting blend on a fire source. Alternatively, you can mix aromatic oils to the groundwood. Work by adding two to three drops at a time, stirring regularly and checking the scent so that the blend doesn’t get too pungent. Afterward, let the blend dry before storing it, so it doesn’t get moldy, and sift it as before for an even consistency.
With either of these methods or a mixture of the two, you can always adjust the final formula to make it more pleasing. If you find your incense’s aroma is overwhelming when burned, simply add more wood power to dilute it, and test it again. If it’s too weak, add more aromatics. Don’t hesitate to tinker. That’s half the fun!
Empowering Magical Incense
There are many ways to energize incense, so pick a few that appeal to you. How about using Moon phases or Astrological signs as a framework in which you work on the blend? Maybe the time of the day works like making a conscious mind incense at noon. Then too there are holidays, festivals and observances that offer tons of symbolic energy with which to saturate your incense. Don’t forget old-fashioned charms & spells that focus energy into the incense and release it when its burned. Here’s a sample verbal element that you can change by inserting your goal in the blank:
Magic Herbs, I charge you well.
The energy of my magic ______ spell.
By fire released, and smoke conveyed,
May this magic never fade.
Store the finished incense in a dry, dark area, preferably in an airtight container. The incense retains a good aroma for about six to eight months, so make only what you can use in that time span. To extend the longevity of the blend, add a teaspoon of benzoin powder as a fixative.