The complete book of Incense, Oils, & Brews is a wonderful guide to working with these practices. Like many of his other texts the author Scott Cunningham created a very useful and effective resource for working many different types of magical spells and rituals. This text works great in companion with his Aromatherapy book and his two Herbal Magic books-Herbal Magic and his Magical Herbal encyclopedia or it can be used effectively on its own as its own resource. The text provides a comprehensive list of tools you will need as well as instructions on how to make the different items found within the book.
This book is broken up into three different sections. Each section addresses a specific aspect of working with and creating incenses, oils, soaps and more. This organization makes the book ideal as a reference guide for making these powerful spiritual and magical aids. By having the three sections a beginner to incense and oil work will be able to get the most out of it while an experienced crafter will also be able to find just what they are looking for and nothing else.
The first section deals with magic basics, proportions, empowering the creations, ingredients and creating your own recipes. This is the foundational portion of the book. Here the author goes into the very basics of what you need to know in order to make the most out of thi reference guide.
The first chapter here is on magic basics. While many people interested in this text probably have a basic understanding of the practices and concepts associated with magical practice this chapter is a nice refresher. For those new to magic the information here is very basic and a great introduction for some one who wants to have practical applications right away. The chapter covers ethics, power, working for yourself and working for others. It also covers the basic magical tools that you may need in your journey within this text.
The second chapter is very brief. This chapter was included because people asked for specific proportions to the ingredients in individual recipes from an earlier edition of this book. This chapter says to use them as guidelines but also to trust your intuition and personal judgement. The importance of keeping a record of your work is stressed here as well.
The third chapter focuses on empowering your creation. After you make an incense or an oil they need to be charged for use. This chapter gives you a small ritual way to empower these new objects as well as explains why additional power is needed for the incenses, oils, and brews to be effective.
The fourth chapter is a chapter on the ingredients that you will find in some of the recipes. Here the author mentions how we can obtain the items for various recipes. The chapter also gives information about uncommon terms and ingredients that might be found within magical oils and incenses. The explanation here provides an easy guide to the ingredients listed later on in the book.
The last chapter in the first section is all about creating your own recipes. As some one who makes their own incense blends this is a chapter I refer to often to check my process. Here the author explains that you can use what you have to make things work. The guide includes thinking about the form of what you are going to make and then herbs and other associations. There is even a sample incense process given to illustrate the process involved.
The second section makes up the bulk of the book. This is where you have the recipes for the incenses, oils, brews, and other items contained in this book. This is the real reference section here. This section provides beginners with step by step recipes to work with from the beginning and allows experiences crafters and practitioners to find inspiration for their own work. The types of items covered allows every one to find something they can work with.
The section starts off with incenses. Working with incenses is one of the most common herbal and magical or spiritual practices and it covers many cultures so it makes a great starting base. In the first section of this chapter the author talks about the two different types of incenses and the benefits and issues of working with either one. He gives a step by step guide on how to make the different types of incenses. Then he starts the recipe selection. One of the key parts of this section is how the book notes which incenses shouldn’t be inhaled and or that contain dangerous ingredient so you may want to look up a substitute.
After the incenses Cunningham discusses making oils. In this section the author talks about how you can make oils and also which oils work well on their own for different purposes. The first part of this chapter is the how to and the second section covers the recipes and guides on making the oils.
After oils the author covers in this order Ointments, Inks, Tinctures, Herb Baths, Bath salts, Brews and potions, Soaps, Herbal satchels, Powders, and miscellaneous. Each section contains as the previous sections did how to make the items and why they are being used. The recipes cover many different needs allowing for a wide variety of practices and magical tools.
The last section deals with different ways you can make substitutions in your work allowing for a person to work with what is available rather than needing to get a lot of expensive new herbs and items. The author includes planetary substitutes, herbs & basic ingredients,elemental, and need based. This section allows a person to be able to make anything they want and need based on what they have in their home and maximize them to the fullest extent.