Monday, March 25, 2013

The Use Of Incense: Ancient Practice and Modern Practice - Custom Incense Recipes

How To Make Incense and The History of Incense Use
In most ancient pagan religions and paths it was tradition to use resins with the burning of good smelling woods and herbs to summon the Gods and Goddesses.
In some of the feminine based pagan paths who adored the Goddesses, it was common practice to send the smell to the sky to honor the Goddess or Goddesses. (Note: Many patriarchal religions took up this pagan practice and it is still in use today such as with the Roman Catholic Church.)
The use of resins and wood burning (incense) was used to not only honor the Goddesses and Gods, but to give thanks to Them as well as summon Them. Petitions for the present and the future time were stated at the time of using such incenses.
In Old Mesopotamia many such smoke gifts were sent up to the sky. These gifts and offerings were sacred, ceremonial and also used for ritual purposes. Incense was used to cleanse living spaces and purify a sickbed adding healing powers to it. Many times the smoke from incense was used to cure many various illnesses. Incense was used to perfume clothing as well.
Today we enjoy the use of such offerings to the Gods and Goddesses by using a fire-proof vessel such as a cauldron or an incense burner/holder designed to hold charcoal on which to place our resins, herbs and woods and various other types of incenses. Many use the pre-fashioned charcoal rounds that are easy to light. These can also be used in a dish that has sufficient sand or salt in the bottom to keep it burning safely without harming the surface under the dish.
There is an abundance of commercial made incenses available. Some are not “pure” and have chemicals in them that I would not recommend. When doing any kind of sacred work you want to avoid chemicals that could hamper the work you are attempting.
Many choose to make their own incenses from a single herb/resin or from a formula/recipe designed for specific purposes. Whether ground finely or coarsely is up to the practitioner. Either will work well on charcoal.
Some formulas/recipes for incense that I am familiar with:
General Conjurations:
  • In equal parts, Almond, Frankincense, Lemon Verbena, Mandrake, and Wormwood
Protection For Women:
  • 1 part Rowan Wood, 1/2 part Lemon Verbena, 1 part Rosemary, 1 part Basil and 1 part Chamomile.
Earth and Water - Elemental Spirits:
  • Equal parts Basil, Damiana and Rosemary
For Samhain:
  • Equal parts of the following - Anise seed, Marjoram, Myrrh, Laurel and Patchouli oil.
Mental Ability Improvement:
  • Equal parts Celery seed and Wormwood
Visions and Dreams:
  • Equal parts Aloe and Dragon’s Blood(a resin)
Safety On A Journey:
  • 1 part each of Cinnamon, and Saffron - to this 1 pinch of Dragon’s Blood (a resin)
Protection - General:
  • Equal parts Dragon’s Blood, Mandrake and Mistletoe
Spells/Ban:
  • Equal parts Dragon’s Blood, Garlic, Pine, Chamomile, and Blue Mallows. When dealing with bad vibrations add in equal parts of Rosemary and Camphor.
Beltain:
  • Equal parts Basil, Damiana, Immortelle (Evergreen), Rosemary and flower oil of your choice (Geranium-ecstasy; Pink or Red Rose Petals-admiration, etc.)
Concentration:
  • Equal parts Cinnamon, and Frankincense
Full Moon Ritual:
  • Equal parts Anise seed, Basil, Damiana, Evergreen(Immortelle) and Rosemary
Cleansing of Sacred Space and Altar:
  • Equal parts Benzoin (Benjamin), Frankincense, Myrrh, and Rowan Wood
New Moon Ritual:
  • Equal parts Anise seed, Camphor, Wormwood and Lavender.
You can use just about any herb, resin or wood in various combinations for your own specific needs and purposes. Some will simple use what resonates with them…not some “guide-line” set out by another. Whenever something resonates with a being on a spiritual level, you can rest assured that it is quite appropriate for the one using it.