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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.

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