Category Archives: Magical Herbalism

I: Incenses -Why they are used, how to use them and choosing the right type

Incenses:

Today we are going to talk about the origins of a product line we have as well as why people use and work with magical incenses to begin with. Incenses are a large part of many forms of witchcraft, magic, and spirituality. Some people also just like to burn incense because they like the smell and the atmosphere that certain incenses can bring to a room. I know that for myself there was a simple pleasure in lighting an incense and simply enjoying the scent as it filled the room.

Why people work with incenses

So now why do people work with incenses? There are many different reasons that a person will work with incense. From simply enjoying the scent to working intense rituals incenses have many different properties that people enjoy and work with. Incenses are probably one of the most common ways that magic can be practiced. Its also one of the simplest acts of spiritual devotion that a person can engage in.

How people work with and use incenses

So what are some of these ways? It really depends on a persons spiritual path and the life an individual leads. Not everyone who burns incenses works with a spiritual or magical view. Not all paths work with incenses and sacred scents the same way. Some paths use blended incenses for rituals and magical purposes, while other traditions and practices will work with a single specific herb for its properties. Like any form of magical and spiritual work incense work comes in many different forms.

One way that most people enjoy incenses is simply to burn them for the various different scents that are out there. Many people have their favorite scents that they like to burn. For many the enjoyment of the scent is a way to relax and unwind. Other people just like to use different scents to lighten up their homes. Scents are very powerful ways that we can change our moods. This is a way that many non magical and spiritually minded people work with incense. Before I started to really study and explore magic myself, that was the main reason I worked with and enjoyed incenses.

There are some traditions that believe that when you light an incense and say a prayer over the incense that the smoke of the incense carries the prayer to heaven, the Gods, the ancestors, and the spirits that a person works with. For those who believe in this aspect of air magic and incense work by praying for their desire over the incense they believe that the energy is being scent to the Gods via the smoke of the incense. This is a very simple and easy form of magic that many people engage in.

Another belief and practice for using incense is to simply give an offering to spirits and Gods. There are different herbs and scents that are sacred and special to specific Gods and Spirits. Dragons blood resin when burned as an offering makes a wonderful offering to Dragon spirits. They love the scent and are happy when its offered to them. The God of Christianity has an incense of either Frankincense or Myrrh that is sacred to him. By offering different Gods and spirits incenses that are sacred and special to them a person can strengthen their bond with the deity or spirit.

Some people burn incenses as a part of meditation and trance work. The scents that they work with during this spiritual work often depends on exactly the nature of the work. Some people may have a blended incense that they use for generic meditation work. Other people will have different scents for different types of spirit work. They may have an incense for astral travel and out of body work and another for dream work, while having a basic scent for general meditative work. The idea here is the scent being burned in some fashion works as a mental and psychological trigger to get into that state of mind where one can engage in spiritual and magical work.

In religious ritual depending on the tradition the incenses burned have different roles. In most witchcraft circles the burning of an incense represents the element of air specifically. This allows the element of air to be present in rituals and to have the ritual and spirit work manifest through the element of air. In other rituals the scent can be used to help purify and protect a sacred space, or just to create a mood through the different scents that can be burned.

Finally a person can burn incense for the magical and spiritual properties of the herbs. By burning the incenses over charcoal, in a cone shape, or in stick form the energy and spiritual properties of the herbs are released into the world. When a person engages in the use of incenses for magical purposes by saying a charm over the incense as it burns their desires and intents are given a form to manifest in. The incense as it burns releases that energy into the universe. The person who casts the spell through the incense burning directs that energy through their intent and their words allowing the universe to manifest their desires.

Choosing the Type of Incense

Now there are different types of incenses that can be worked with. There are some benefits and there are some issues with all forms of incense work. This is why when people work with incenses they often have to make difficult decisions. There are many different factors involved with choosing the right sort of incense to work with. Depending on where you live and what sort of environment you are in some options might not be advisable for you.

There are some people who can’t handle incense smoke, so they need a different alternative. Those people often use essential oils and other scented liquids for their incense work. The scent is either diffused through evaporation means or through a small candle under a diffuser meant to heat off the scent. If you live in a place where you can’t burn incense for what ever reason essential oils through sprays and evaporation diffusers may be an option for you. Mystic Echoes sells magical tinctures that can also be effective in this use.

The most common form of incense is that of the joss or stick incense. These are the types of incenses you see in many different types of stores. The availability of the burners and types of scents in the stick style of incense is what makes them the most popular form of incense.  To use you simply place the incense in a holder and light.

The limit to this is that you have to be specific in your needs with the scent.  Unless you know how to craft and make stick incense yourself, you are limited to the choices available to you and there is a chance that the incenses will not be made will all natural only herbal ingredients.  This incense would not be used in placed where you can not burn things.  The benefit is that there are many different scents and varities out there so you can likely find something that will suit your need.

You also have cone or shaped incenses.  These are a little less popular than the stick incense.  Here the incense is placed in a fire safe container and lit.  The incense burns down into an ash form based on the shape.  The charcoal, oils, and herbs are pressed together to make this form.  So in order for this to burn you simply light the incense cone and place it in the burner.

Like the stick incense, cone incense are limited to the scents and styles sold by suppliers and may have synthetic scents to them rather than all natural pure herbal ingredients.  The other issue is that it can not be used in a place where burning incense is forbidden. The benefit is that there are many different scents and varieties out there so you can likely find something that will suit your need.

The last form of incense is the one that is commonly used in ritual work.  This is a loose based powdered incense.  Here the incense is completely based all natural.  It is just the herbs blended and ground together for a specific purpose.  The herbs are carefully chosen for their properties and only occasionally their scent.  These incense blends are mixed in a mortar and pestle most often and burned on a charcoal disk in a censor on the altar.    This is the form of incense that Mystic Echoes crafts and sells.

The issues here are that you are limited to charcoal and censors for working with this incense.  The other issue is that the charcoal may not stay lit the entire ritual.  The largest benefit is that because these are made by hand you can ensure that only natural and herbal ingredients are included.  You have full control over the content of the incense.

Conclusion

So this week we have covered the different types of incenses, how they can be used and why people use them.  The entry also covered the benefits and detriments to each form of incense that is out there.  By reading this article you have a better idea of what sort of incenses are out there and which one you may want to use.

Mystic Echoes currently sells tinctures which can be used as a liquid incense like an essential oil and loose powdered herbal incenses.  Both of these product lines have been handcrafted and created for your individual use.    Check out our Magical Incenses and ourMagical Tinctures

Next weeks Pagan Blog project will talk about how you can craft your own magical incenses and will explain how our incense crafting began.

Pagan Blog Project: C is for Crafting Protection Salt

Witchcraft is a craft and a practice.  As a witch I spend a lot of time crafting different incenses for rituals and for spells.  I also spend time crafting spells and rituals.  There are many different types of items that can be crafted and built.  Today we are going to talk about an item I call protection salt.

Protection salt is in some ways related to Black Salt.  The idea behind protection salt is that it will protect your house and home as well as defend your home.  Protection salt works both to keep spirits and negative forces away but it also works to cause harm to those spirits and forces that would wish you harm.

Protection salt is really easy to craft and it is very effective.  There are very few items used in the recipe and it takes little to no time to craft the items yourself.  It takes little to no time and is one of the most effective items I have crafted in recent history.

Materials:

Blender/grinder

Bottle or container

Sea salt 9 table spoons

Dragons blood 3 table spoons

Nettle leaf 3 table spoons

White sage 3 table spoons

Dragon Fire protection tincture 1 1/2 table spoons

Wand or athame to stir

Process:

Measure out the sea salt.  Put the sea salt in the grinder

Measure out the Nettle leaf.  Add it to the grinder.  Mix with your wand or athame

Add the white sage and mix with your wand or athame.

Add the last dry herb (the dragons blood) and mix with the wand or the athame.

Cover the grinder/blender and mix them into a fine powder.

Stir the mixture with your wand or athame.

Call upon the arch angel Michel and the dragons of protection to fill the salt with their power.

Direct Michel power and the dragons power into the salt mixture.  Blend with your athame or wand.

Finally add in the Dragons Fire tincture.  Feel even more Dragon energy and sacred protection energy filling the blender.

Once more blend the mixture.

As it blends focus on protection and defense of your home, office, or even car.  See the mixture radiating both protective and defensive energy.

Bottle the mixture in a bottle or container and label it.

Use:

Sprinkle the mixture on all the windowsills and under all the doors in your home.  Sprinkle the mixture on the floors in every room, on your porch, on your steps, and in your drive way.  This seals the protection around the building and within the building.

The tinctures addition to the mixture allows the salt to stick better to the windowsills, doors and steps.

Items mentioned:

image

Available: https://www.etsy.com/listing/161383786/dragon-fire-protection-tincture?ref=shop_home_feat_2

image

Available: https://www.etsy.com/listing/163604756/powdered-dragons-blood-resin?ref=shop_home_active_11

image

Available: https://www.etsy.com/listing/161392601/white-sage?

Good luck on crafting your own Protection Salt.  If you have any questions feel free to ask me.  I will more than gladly help you understand why I used the items I used and how they work as a combination,

RootWork:Using the Folk Magick of the Black America for Love, Money, and Success

Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money, and Success is a very short and concise book. The author clearly wanted to provide a short and easy to read introduction to the practice of Hoodoo. The author wanted to provide a book where the individuals reading could come away feeling at least on a surface level familiar with the topic of Hoodoo and what Hoodoo was.

The short book covers history, the practice, and provides some simple spells and recipes that a novice could use to start their practice. The book is divided up into three parts. Each of the sections of the book provided insightful information but could have been more in depth.

The first part of the book covers the basics which includes the history and some of the basic cultural influences that have made Hoodoo what it is today. This section also defines what Hoodoo is and how it is different from the religion and spirituality of Voodoo. The section also does a basic introduction into the beliefs behind Hoodoo or Rootwork into why this system works. With any folk magic tradition it is essential to understand the culture and the history of the culture the magic system comes from. Without these understandings the practical aspects of the system become useless and one will never really understand what the system has to provide.

The first chapter in the book covers what Hoodoo is as a practice. This is probably one of the most essential chapters in this book. Here the author illustrates why Hoodoo is actually a different system than voodoo. It is also here that we begin to understand the role that Hoodoo played within the slave communities during the years that the slave trade existed. The author also barely covers how the practice managed to survive and adapt. This is also where we see how important herbs played in the roles of the lives of the African Americans historically.

The second chapter covers the history of Hoodoo. Here we see why the practice basically disappeared thanks to regulations in the US regarding slaves and congregations. This chapter also explains why there are various regional differences in southern and central America as well as within the Caribbean Islands that you will not find in the United States tradition of Hoodoo. This is due to the culture of those regions and how easily the slaves were able to adapt their native practices to that of the practices of the slave owners. The author’s main point in these illustrations is that Hoodoo arose out of the slave trade and it is important that we never forget that Hoodoo was and is the connection African Americans have to their native ancestral tribal practices.

Here the author explains that Hollywood has bee one of the biggest contributors to the misunderstanding of hoodoo as a magical practice rather than a religious practice. It is thanks to Hollywood that Hoodoo is seen as an evil practice rather than a rich system of healing spells and life work. While it is true they had spells and practices to harm others and defend the family, Hoodoo originated as a healing system as the slaves could not afford traditional medical care.

The author also illustrates within the chapter the reasons that a person may practice Hoodoo. Given the origins of the tradition and the terrible history of slavery it is a solid question. The authors answers are simple. The author provides 5 simple reasons that any one of African descent may want to practice or learn Hoodoo. The two reasons I found most inspiring are to connect to your ancestors log dead and for spiritual and personal growth and empowerment.

The third chapter and final portion of part one is about how Hoodoo works. Before going into the basic techniques and practices of Hoodoo one should have a basic understanding of the beliefs associated with this tradition. The six commonly held beliefs of Hoodoo Rootworkers forms the basis of how the tradition works. A perfect way to end the first part of the book.

The second part of the book provides some insight as to what the practice of Hoodoo may entail. This section of the book is aptly titled “Elements of Rootwork”. This section of the book is not meant to be a practicum or how to. This is a section that talks about the practices you will find in the how to section. A few of the techniques and practices have some exercises on how to perform that particular practice or use that skill. Overall the segment of the book was designed to introduce you to the basic skills and practices you may find a Hoodoo or a Rootworker engaging in.

The fourth chapter in this book starts off the elements section. For those who are familiar with European systems of magic you may be surprised to find a chapter on the elements and how the elemental forces of earth, air, fire, and water, are used in Hoodoo. This chapter covers how each element has a specific type of magical act that may be used as well as the properties of that element. The concepts here are new and useful to those coming from a European background looking for other ways they can work with the elemental forces of magic.

The fifth chapter in the book covers talismans and charms. Out of all the practices associated with Hoodoo the practices of talismans and charms is probably the most thought of and common one. Here the author goes into some of the traditional Hoodoo charms and talismans that many people are not familiar with covering the use of herbs as talismans by themselves as well as covering the use of human and animal parts. There is also a section on how to most effectively place the talisman or charm for its effect called “laying a trick”.

The sixth chapter in this book covers spirits of the dead. The chapter begins by discussing the types of spirits of the dead that one can experience and meet. The book then goes on to how to honor them and provides a few different examples on how one can communicate with them.

The last chapter in this section covers the various forms of divination that a Hoodoo practitioner may engage in. There are many different methods of divination. The author here explains why divination is engaged in prior to spell and ritual work. The majority of this chapter covers how to perform divination using simple day to day playing cards.

The final section of the book is the one that I was most eagerly interested as a reader which was the selection of spells and recipes to try. The final section of this book is what brings the book from an informative book about the history, practices, and tradition into a practical handbook.

The eighth chapter of this book focuses on what one needs to know before one can actually practice or use the spells and rituals outlined in the following chapters. This very short chapter is essential as it provides a few guidelines to using the spells effectively.

The remaining three chapters are made up of spells and rituals that are written in a step by step manner making them easy to use. Each of the spells contains a list of materials that are required followed by a list of actions and steps to take. Some of the spells have ingredients or actions mentioned earlier in the elemental magic section, but when combined the spells provide useful tools for creating a basic practice.

To end the author provides a selection of providers for spell and ritual supplies. Combined with the spells earlier and the techniques outlined throughout the book this final touch creates a useful handbook for any one to use. Together with the spells the providers and the authors make Hoodoo accessible in the 21st century to a wider selection of people than ever before.

 

Witchcraft-A craft and a Practice

Today there is more of a trend in witchcraft towards making all of witchcraft religious.  This is simply not the case.  Witchcraft is a practice and a craft.  The world craft is in the word witchcraft which implies that there is a skill and a practice to witchcraft.

While there are many ways that witchcraft can be a part of a religion like Wicca, Witchcraft is not a religion.  It is a craft and a practice.  It has a philosophy and a spiritual background but in the end witchcraft is a practice and a craft.

There are no actual specific rites or beliefs held and practiced by all witches.  Which is why witchcraft is not a religion.  There are no united beliefs and practices among witches aside from the belief in magic and the practice of magical arts and even that can be debated as a non issue as many witches don’t believe in magic-they know it exists and work with it.

Every witch is different and has their own practice.    Some witches will practice more intense ceremonial magic with elaborate altars and spirit invocations while another will practice more simple folk magic and remedies.  Some witches will work shamanic rites while any other witch may practice meditative rites and do everything in their mind.
While the belief in spiritual powers is common not all witches will work with all of them.  Witches have the power to contact and summon spirits who work with them as their aid and partners.

There are religious practices of witchcraft but that does not make witchcraft a religion.  For myself nature worship or a nature based spirituality would be my religion while witchcraft is my practice.  The Gods and spirits I worship are deities and spirits associated with witchcraft so I consider my religion a witchcraft religion.

Being a witch does not mean you practice a religion like Wicca.  Being a witch merely means you practice some form of witchcraft.  Invocations to Gods and spirits are not required in spells nor rituals.  Being a witch is simply working with the forces of nature and the universe to create changes in this world.

~Loona Wynd~ )0(

%d bloggers like this: