Incense - Botanicals - Other powers: your Magic Allies

The Big Book of Practical Spells: Everyday Magic That Works - Judika Illes 2016

Other powers: your Magic Allies

Every culture and people on Earth has a link to incense, the process of using scented smoke to permeate the air for spiritual purposes. Incense is the easiest method of expressing gratitude to Earth and your spirit allies for favors granted. Real incense cleanses, protects, serves as a vehicle for prayer and petition and invites the presence of spirit allies.

Once upon a time, incense existed as mass national industries. Frankincense and myrrh were Earth's most expensive items, mainly because of their value as burnt offerings. Entering an urban area, you would be met with clouds of sacred smoke and its evocative fragrance. In a sense, industrialized nations still create incense: Today smokestacks spew foul smelling toxins and pollutants into the atmosphere. Who do we try to attract or propitiate?

Incense can be stationary. It may be used indoors or outdoors. In Japan, incense remains a spiritual art. Japanese incense is increasingly available outside its homeland. If you wish to purchase ready-made incense, it is among the purest and finest.

Incense is the most ancient fragrance art. Remains have been found in Paleolithic caves. If cave people had the technology to make incense, so do you. Incense does not have to come in cone or stick form, it can also be loose. For the most basic incense, pulverize dried plant material (leaves, bark, blossoms, resin), place on a small lit charcoal and allow the fragrance to permeate an area. Trust your nose: the incense should smell good. Incense is easiest left loose, but if you prefer little cones, you can easily make your own without resorting to the artificial substances contained in most commercial incense.


Incense Cones

Dissolve gum arabic in water (1 part powder to 2 parts water). Gum arabic is available from incense supply houses but it's probably less expensive to purchase it from an Indian grocery store. Allow it to soak for about three hours. In the meantime, pulverize your herbal material until it is powdered. Mix the incense powder into the liquid until you can shape it into small cones with your hands. Allow the cones to dry in a warm area.


Smudge Wands

Juniper, Lavender, Rosemary and/or Sage

Thin cotton thread

In North America, the process of using directed smoke to cleanse a person, space or item is known as smudging. Traditionally, stalks of botanical material are dried and bound tightly together, forming a wand. Use one of the above herbs or any combination. Other herbs may also be used but the ones above are strong spiritual cleansers and are easily and quickly dried. When the herbs are completely dried, bind them together, all facing the same direction with thin cotton thread to form a six- to eight-inch wand. Light the tip and direct the smoke with your hand or a feather toward whatever needs smudging.