Category Archives: Reiki
Starting to work with Magical Incense and Powders
An introduction to Powdered Incense and Magical Powders
Who I am and Why I do this
My name is Loona Wynds. I have been a practicing with for many years. I started as a teenager. At the time the only incense that was available to me for my spell work was the commercial large brands I could find at the local music store. Which for me at the time was great. Once and a while I was get a chance to go to a Hippy shop where I could buy Frankincense sticks, Myrrh, and my favorite Dragons Blood. These worked fine for a 13 year old who was just starting out on her journey in witchcraft but after working with them for 5 years things changed.
Most of the commercial incense (not Nag Champa) use synthetic scents. These are chemicals whose scents mimic natural scents from herbs and resins, and for some people these are fine. However my fiance can not breathe with those types of scents burning. Not wanting to stop my ritual work and my spell work I started to get supplies to craft and make my own powdered natural incense.
This was 10 years ago. I would only make some incense as I needed it now. I would store the rest for future use. This for me just meant more trips to the Leapin Lizards, the local metaphysical store for new herbs and resins for different blends. Making incense for me made me feel at my witchiest.
I was in control of all the energy in the blend. I was the one who was able to blend, mix, and shape the energetic forces of the incense to do as I willed. I got into a trance and I could really feel that the incense was in fact a spell in the making. The grinding of the resins and flowers or roots together put the physical energy of my desire into the work which lead to manifestation. This was how I started to understand the real essence of herbal magic.
I’m going to be honest right here and right now. I never once used a recipe for my incenses. I never once had a book top guide me in the steps. My only resources were the herbal packets themselves which had properties and uses on the back and Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Herbs. I was purely using my intuition, my inner knowing as the old conjureers call it. So all of my blends were unique. They were never the same twice, and at the time I didn’t bother to record what I was doing as they were all experiments of the spiritual science of magical herbalism and spiritual aromatherapy.
3 years ago My fiance noticed that though I was trying really hard I was simply not able to find a job. I applied everywhere and I even had a few interviews. Nothing was working. One of my dreams has always been to have my own Metaphysical shop where I could sell supplies to people on their spiritual journeys and help them grow as a witch or pagan or what ever they identified as.
We had been told that because of me history I may be able to get a grant through the Small Business Development center. I talked to my worker helping me find work and we decided to try to go this route. After doing a test market of my tinctures, incenses, and some basic herbs I was able to prove that this was a dream that would work. And now with their help I have come to be able to make and sell the incenses and powders that I do.
Why work with powdered incense?
The most original form of incense is pure herbal incense. The witches, priests, shamans, and magic workers would dry plants and herbs and throw them on the fire for an effect during ritual. Over time they created different herbal combinations for different rituals and workings. From there they developed working with small batches for an individual working rather than a full community ritual. These small batches are how witches continue to work.
By working with the loose herbal and resin form of incense you can control the power of the essence more effectively. You are also able to communicate with the spirits of the plants. While they have been dried and harvested the dried plants are like the bone of a person. They still contain aspects of the plants spirit and essence. When we make powdered incenses for spell and ritual work it is this essence that we are tapping into. It is this part of the plants spirit we are working with.
While most incense stick may have some traces of essential oils in the blends you are not dealing with a pure plant essence. You are simply dealing with the chemical concoctions. To get a connection with the natural essence of the plant you want to work with dried plants that you either gather yourself (the best option) or buy from a reputable supplier. Otherwise you may not even be talking to or working with the plant spirit.
In essence witches work with the spirits of the plants they work with. Using powdered incense that you make yourself is one of the best ways that you can start working with the plant spirits. You can feel them, speak to them, and get a sense for their energetic properties. Over time the more you work with the plants the more they will teach you about them and working with them. I worked with marigold for years in spell work and incense before it revealed its uses in money,finance, and succsess work. Prior to that most of my work had been with the healing attributes and the psychic development attributes and its still one of my main go to for those works.
What are Magical Powders?
Magical powders are not as common in witchcraft as they are in Hoodoo and other folklore and folk magic tradition. Powders are a very effective way to work magic without being seen or known. Powders are effective because they work in silence and in the shadows without much fuss or muss. You are simply sprinkling a mixture around an area or on an object and letting the powder do the work.
In magical powders it really is the spirit of the plants that are doing the work. While incense send the words and prayers up to Gods and spirits other than the plant spirits, powders are direct to the earth. Its just the plants, your intent, and mother earth that makes things work. In magical powders you are really relying on the inner conjure power of the plants and of their spirits. They will work for you if you are respectful to them.
Not all magical powders are plant matter though. Several powders like Red brick dust, and grave yard dirt are not based on plant matter but on the organic matter of them. They are still full of power because of the spirits in them. The spirit of the place is an important aspect of gathering these powders.
Grave yard dirt is gathered at the cemetery and used in rituals depending on the grave it came from. This dirt can contain plant matter but in essence instead of the plants you are working with the spirit from the grave where you took the dirt from while. This is why it s important to do research on the grave you take the dirt from and give them an offering. It is also for this reason that most people will gather graveyard dirt from the cemeteries of their ancestors or beloved dead.
Powders like Hotfoot and black salt are often made with herbs as well as other items. In these powders it is still the plant spirits that are working for you, but it is also your intention in the work. Your desire and knowing that the work will be done that makes it work. The herbs are what boost the intent for the powder and it is sprinkling them onto the earth or object that makes it work.
Why you should make your own
Making your own incense and powders is one of the best things you can do in magic and witchcraft. I say this because it allows you to really control the power and the intent in the product. No one else but you really knows what type of healing you need done or what your money issues are. By making your own you can really be the magic and be the power behind the working.
It is important to remember that intent is everything in magic and witchcraft. When you start to make your own blends you get to put your emotional state and your intent into the product from the very beginning. You are asking the spirits of the plants to aid you in this work and lend their power to your working. By stating this while you blend and grind the power gets transferred and the energy mixes very well.
While you can use products that have been pre-charged and made by others you will not have as much control over the energy in the product. They will not have your emotional connection to the spell or working you are trying to do. The creator of the incense or powder can ask the spirits of the plants to charge the creation for a specific purpose and it will work, just not as effective. They will put their own emotional charge into the work as their blessing but without your own inner emotional force it is missing and aspect to be as effective as it can be.
You are the magic. It is your will that directs magic. This is why even when buying stuff from a store you will need to spend your own emotional energy as you do the work. You will have to make sure that all of your energy gets into the working so that the spirits know your desire and can work for your intent. This is why in the end I prefer to make all my own products. It has my partnership with the plant spirits starting from the moment I choose the herbs.
Tools of the Trade
There are several different tools involved in making incense and powders. You have the Mortar and Pestle, the scale, a mixing bowl, wand, yourself, bags and or containers, and of course the herbs,resins, and essential oils that you wish to work with. Each of these tools plays a central part in creating your own unique blends of incenses and powders.
The most important tool is the Mortar and Pestal. Right now I do not have any in stock but my friend does at his shop: Mortar and Pestle. The mortar and Pestle is how you actually grind and blend the herbs in the incense and powder making. You choose the herbs, weigh the amounts out and grind them. Some people grind them one at a time and then place everything in a mixing bowl for a final blending with hands or a wand. Other people will blend and grind them all within the Mortar and Pestle. My advice is to start with one herb at a time. Once you get a feel for the power it takes to grind the herbs in this fashion you can add more herbs to the blend at a time.
The next tool you need are baggies or some sort of storage container. Once you have made your incense any that you do not burn in a spell or ritual (and a little of homemade magic goes along ways) you will want to be able to store it. This is the reason I keep most pickle, salsa, and jelly jars. I can us it for storage of incense, powders, and other blends. You never know when you will want to do a particular ritual again so it is important to know you can use the same blend again.
You also want to have some sort of paper to record what you did. This way you will know what you made and be able to make it again if it work perfectly. If something did not work well (and not every blend works out perfectly the first time) you want to look at what you did so you can try and tweak the recipe and make changes. This is also a good way to track any manifestations from the work.
A mixing bowl is great if you only have a small mortar and pestle and need more space to blend your herbal mixture. In this you can fold and mix and blend the herbs ground or not to your hearts content. I typically do a mixture of using a wand or using my hands. The wands are great at blasting a direct force of energy into the mixture while my hands do a subtle constant exchange through my personal touch.
One of the reasons I like to use my hands is that I get a direct personal connection with the herbs that I am working with. As I dig into the herbs I can feel them mix and I can feel the energy as they blend. I can feel the plants talking together about the purpose and mingling to the best of their abilities. It also lets me connect with the first witch, the earth mother as all plants are small representatives of the Earth mother.
Unless you are following a specific recipe you really dont need a scale or measuring devices. If you are following your intuition you can just work with what feels right. In Mystic Echoes because of the large amount of product I create in a single sitting I weigh the ingredients out by the ounce. For your own personal use if you want to keep accurate records tablespoons or teaspoons are all you are going to need.
Finally you need to have the herbs. Your herbs, resins, and essential oils are the most important part of the process. With out the herbs, essential oils, and resins you will not have any sort of incense and powder. These are what make your blend your own. There are hundreds of herbs out there many with similar properties. It is your personal choice of the herbs you work with and in what amounts that will make your incense blends really your own.
Choosing the Herbs and essences
The herbs are what make up your powder and your incense.So it is important to choose the right herbs for the right blend. In two follow up posts I am going to give recipes for a protect your love powder and a love incense. For now we will cover resources and how to choose the herb to work with for your unique products.
There are many uses for many different herbs on the market. One of my favorites Dragonsblood (which is a resin) can be used for protection, but also love, lust, money, exorcism, and power. Its also an offering specific to Dragon spirits. Another herb Angelica root has Angelic Work, Protection, Hex Removal,Exorcisms, Health, Meditation, and Divination as associations. Every herb on the market has properties that make them versatile in spell work and in ritual work.
So how do you choose? One of the things I do is I look up a few recipes in the various book resources I have. I then write down the recipies that appeal to me. After having 3 or 4 different recipes I see what is common in them and what is different. I write down all the herbs that are mentioned and go from there. This is where my intuition and working with the spirit comes into play. This is where I let the spirit of the plants guide me.
Once I have a few guides to look at I see what the herbs themselves have to tell me. More often than not the blend I end up with is different than the one that I had intended to use. I can see a lust recipe and start working with the herbs I thought might be good and half way through the creation I get a message from an herb “hey your supposed to use me” or a sensation that another plant would work better in the blend. So I put aside the herb I was going to use and grab the one that told me to work with it.
For those who are new to working with incenses and powders my advice is to actually follow a recipe unless something tells you very strongly to use something else. In this case many of the books that have recipes and associations with herbs and oils will have replacements or herbs that can be used interchangeably.
This is where many people can start to panic. They might not have the exotic herbs like Dragons Blood or Angelica root. But they have something like Basil and black pepper in their kitchen cabinet. Often times I get asked can I use the same herbs I use in cooking for magic? And my response is very much yes! Cinnamon is a good example here. Cinnamon has properties of money, luck, love, lust, protection, and prosperity. Black pepper has protection, removal, and magical offense properties. Your kitchen cabinet has many magical options for you.
This is my point here. Use what you have on hand. In the ancient times the witches and priests only had what they could gather locally in the woods or that they could grow in their gardens. If its something you have in your home I guarantee you can use it in incense or powders. By doing this you are also well on your way to learning about kitchen witchcraft as well. I will cover kitchen witchcraft herbs and kitchen witchcraft spells in another post but for now I’ll make the point clear again. Use what you have on hand.
Working with powders and Loose Herbal Incense
Working with loose herbal incense does require a few additional tools. You need to have charcoal discs and a censor to burn the charcoal disc in.
The reason I suggest you use those longer lighters is that the charcoal discs spark when they are being lit. It is these sparks across the disc that actually start it burning. Once it has been sparking you will see a red ring around the charcoal. Using tongs place it in the censor and sprinkle the incense on the disc as needed for the spell or ritual. Now your incense is being used in a spell or formal ritual work.
Powdered incense or loose herbal incense can be used in more than just formal rituals. You can use them as powders sprinkling them in packets, satchets, or around properties. They can also be used as incense by being burned for offerings to spirits and the Gods. In rituals they provide atmosphere and make the place feel and seem sacred.
The best way I have found to work with powdered and loose herbal incsnes is both as a powder and as an incense. When yuo burn the incense your intent is carried by the smoke to the spirits of the air and to the universe via your prayer and charge into the incense when you light it. Adding it to packets or rubbing the powder on candles will continue the effect and allow another way for the energy of the incense to work.
All of the powdered incenses found at Mystic Echoes:Loose herbal incense & magical Powders by Mystic Echoes can be used as a powder or as an incense. They are very versatile.
Powdered incense has one final beneficial use. There are some incense blends like the Happiness Blend and the Stress Relief blends which can be used as aromatherapy. By buring certain scents a person can heal and change their emotional state. This is one of the benefits of powdered and herbal incense. Variations of the Healing Incense would be burned during many healing ritual baths and they would be one of the best aspects of the bath-the soothing scent and caress of the spirits of the plants aiding me in my healing work.
Powders are best used in spells. You can use them to bless a work place by making a blessing powder. The only way they can really effectivly be used in rituals is when they are made in the rituals. For example at Maine Pagan Unity Day after making a love and protect my love incense and powder in my workshop I had some left that I went outside and sprinkled on the ground as a thank you. It was part of the ritual of friendship in the making of the blends and sprinkling it was a thank you and a spreading of the blessings.
You can use them in many different types of spells. In candle magic you roll a candle in the powder as part of dressing the candles. In packets you feed the packets with the powder to keep them going and you can also add them to the packets in the process of making the packet. You can sprinkle them around the house for protection or removal depending on the powder. There are some who even use them in freezing spells and jar spells. In essence you could use them in any spell work you can imagine. With all magic the only limit to their use is your imagination.
Today I am going to end this blog post with a few books and resources on herbal magic and associations. These are books that I go to every time for my workings.
Papa Jim’s Herbal Magic workbook by Papa Jim
Herb Magic for Beginners By Ellen Dugan
Mama D’s Herbal by Dru Ann Welch
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Backwoods Shamanism by Ray Hess (small but valuable correspondences section)
Magical Herbalism by Scott Cuningham
Kitchen Witchery by Marilyn F. Daniel
Magical Aromatherapy By Scott Cunningham
The complete book of Incense Oils and Brews by Scott Cunningham
Hoodoo Herb & Root Magic by Catherine Yronwode
One of the first things most books on witchcraft and spiritual practices say is to trust your intuition. If something feels right then do it. If something doesn’t feel right than it probably isn’t. If you feel like there is something you need to do or really should be doing than you probably should be doing those things. These feelings of something needing to be done, and of something feeling right or off are ways that our intuition comes to us and manifests in our world.
There are many different ways that a person can trust and develop a sense of their intuition. When a person learns to trust their intuition they can really have the world at their feet. By trusting and working with your intuition a person will essentially “never be guided wrong”. Your intuition is really your highest self talking to your conscious mind and telling you basically what needs to be done at that moment. Our intuition is also one of the many ways that our spirit guides can contact us.
Learning to develop a sense of your intuition is typically one of the first things that witches and pagans do. By developing their intuition a person can better understand messages sent from their Gods and spirits. It also helps them to better connect to the spiritual forces and energetic needs going on. By developing a sense of your intuition you also develop a sense of what works and will simply “know” how to work the ritual on that day for that reason. This is our spirit and ourselves working as one, and when this state is reached one really has become a witch if they practice witchcraft and aware of the spiritual nature of reality if they are not a witch.
For me I have only really recently started to work with my intuition. For years I knew I had a strong intuition and sense of energetic flows. I could read energy and see auras. I was especially sensitive to emotional energy. For me understanding my intuition and its strength was a scary process. My readings when I did them were so strong and accurate I scared myself from doing my own readings and for reading for others. Its only been recently I have realized that this intuition is a gift rather than a curse so I am actively working on recognizing my strengths and listening to my intuition.
The very first time I realized that my intuition would guide me in my magical and spiritual spells was when I created an incense I use in all my reiki and healing work sessions. When I created that first incense I didn’t know what I was making. I just grabbed the herbs I had that dealt with healing energies. I laid those herbs on the floor in front of me and I started to just grab and mix the herbs as seemed right. I don’t remember making measurements or anything along those lines. I just knew that the incense was right. I remembered to write down what I put in the incense so I could try and make it again but aside from that no record was made.
The healing incense that I sell in Mystic Echoes was inspired by and is an offshoot of that original healing incense blend. The core is the same, but there were other factors that personalized the other incense so they are not exactly the same but they are related. The tincture blend is also related. The core is the same with some modifications in both situations to be more generic than the original purely intuitive blend. You can buy those items Tincture & Incense blend
One of the many ways I have started to recognize my intuition has been in casting spells when it seems to be the right time. In the past I have felt a desire to cast a spell or thought that maybe a spell would help deal with this, and never done the work. I never really trusted myself to just do the right thing. In this sense I didn’t trust my intuition to basically tell me what I needed to do for that spell. Now I am being more active in my spell casting. I work my magic when it seems right and when it feels right.
The key way I am developing my intuition when it comes to my magical practices and my spirituality now though is through the development of products for Mystic Echoes and the writing of the exercises and content on the Seeker Sight blog that I also run. By working on both projects I am listening to my inner truths and knowledge and my intuition is guiding me.
With the products I develop for Mystic Echoes I have a concept in mind that I want to work with. I do some research. For example if I were to develop a hex breaker product or products I would look up herbs and items that correspond with hex breaking. I would then just let my intuition look over the list and decide what to use for items. In many cases it also depends on what I currently have available to work with.
I test all of those products as well. So by developing the products I am developing my spirituality, my intuition, my magical practices, and my knowledge of herbs. The herbs seem to work together because I trust that they will work together. My intuition guided me and will continue to guide me in my craft and practices.
I am not sure exactly how I define my intuition. I would call it an inner sense of knowing. I would say that for me my intuition is a combination of things I know within myself and messages and content sent to me through guides, ancestors, and maybe the divine. I don’t necessarily know the difference between which intuitive thoughts and practices are from guides and which is from deep within me. I just know that when I listen to my intuition things seem to work out in the end. When I don’t listen to my intuition things don’t always work out, or I will be tested in the same way or manner until I do listen to my intuition and then do something about it.
The author Sasha Vivelo is clearly well informed about the practice of Reiki. This book The Reiki Guide provides what you need to know in order to understand Reiki. The author even provides some information and meditations which may possible allow you to attune to and become a practitioner of Reiki as well.
The Reiki Guidebook is divided into two parts. These two sections cover the first two degrees of Reiki material. These sections each provide a mixture of personal experience, exercises to try, and practical information. These two sections provide enough information for the reader to be able to start doing some energy work on themselves.
The first section covers the first degree material for Reiki which is the basic hands on aspects to the treatment. Here the author covered theory, practice, history, and what the three degrees of Reiki are. This section even includes a point by point guide for laying your hands on the person receiving the treatment.
The two most interesting sections in the first part of the book are the chapter on the atunement process and the chapter on further Reiki practice including how to treat small children, animals, and plants with reiki. In the chapter on the atunement process while the author does give an exercise for a personal atunement so you can practice on your own with your family and friends, the author does say that nothing can replace the in person atunement process given by a Master.
The second part of the book covers the material for the second degree of Reiki training. In this section you are given tools to treat family, friends, and many other people at a distance. You are even shown how to create and use the symbols associated with Reiki work. This part of the book also gives you an idea of how you can continue to give reiki treatments for extended time periods at a distance and even to yourself.
The most interesting chapter in the second part of the book was the section that dealt with using Reiki to aid in the transition from this life to the next life or from life to death. Here the author shared a few different experiences with her own end of the life work with her family members as well as with other people. We learn how Reiki can be beneficial in those with terminal illnesses by helping them manage the pain, and be more at peace with the world in general.
The combination of personal tales and experiences, the practical application, exercises, and the philosophy associated with Reiki makes this a very valuable book in anyone’s collection. For those who are interested in Reiki it gives you the tools to explore Reiki on your own before taking a formal plunge into the practice with your own Master.