Sunday, February 23, 2014

Seasonal Natural Incense Recipes

Creating Natural Incenses

For those who have requested some incense recipes, I have included the below from various sources that should work out well for you.

Instructions For Burning Natural Incenses:
When the incense is prepared, light a charcoal (special charcoal rounds for burning incense are sold at most metaphysical supply stores locally as well as online and can be obtained from suppliers.

Once the charcoal is burning sufficiently (glowing, not flaming), place a pinch of incense onto it and allow to smolder.

An alternative, if you are able to, light a fire outside and wait until the wood is to the glowing coal stage, then place some incense onto the coals.

Fall Sabbat Incense:

From Scott Cunningham's "Wicca: a Guide for the Sole Practitioner" (Llewellyn, 1988).

3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Myrrh
1 part Rosemary
1 part Cedar
1 part Juniper

All ingredients should be individually ground to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle (or electric grinder, in a pinch) and then mixed together.

Samhain (Halloween) Incense Recipe:

From Wylundt's Book of Incense (Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1989). It can be used in loose form, or formed into cones (directions follow).

1/2 part Frankincense
1/4 part Myrrh
1/2 part Bay
1/4 part Vervain
1/4 part Wormwood
1/4 part Patchouli
1/2 part Cinnamon
1/2 part Sandalwood

This recipe is measured in teaspoons or fractions thereof. To make cone incense, you will need to add a bonding agent or gum. The easiest to find (in my experience) is gum arabic. It comes in powdered form and you can get it from most metaphysical supply stores and the stores listed elsewhere on this forum.

To this mixture, I would add about a teaspoon of the gum. Then you will need to make a solution of saltpeter and water--about 1/4 cup of saltpeter mixed into 1/2 cup of water. Add 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon of this solution to your mixture of herbs and gum. Work into a dough that is easily workable but not too wet. If the dough is too wet, the cone will sag.

Once you have worked the dough to desired consistency (which may require adding more gum--it's kind of trial and error), break off pieces of dough and shape them into cones. The cones will not come out looking like commercial incense cones, no matter how hard you try, so don't spend a lot of time trying to make them pretty.

When you have it in the basic shape, press the base onto a flat surface. The ideal surface would be a wood plank or cutting board, as this will absorb excess moisture without sapping too much moisture from the cone. Do not place the cones on paper.

As the water in the cone evaporates, the cone will shrink. This is normal. The cones will need to be stored in a cool dry place and left to dry. You may wish, once the cones have set into their shape, to rotate them onto their sides and roll them over during drying so that they will dry evenly.

Once dry, light them as you would any commercial cone incense. It usually takes a couple of attempts to make a cone that will burn evenly and continually. Don't get discouraged if the first try doesn't work out as well as you planned.

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