Incense - Household Self-Care

The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018

Household Self-Care

Incense is a blend of herbs and/or resins that is placed on a piece of smoldering charcoal in a censer or other heatproof dish to release scent and energy. Incense can be an offering, a way to produce energy sympathetic or supportive to a specific goal or purpose, or simply something to enjoy.

Here are some general notes about incense:

♦ Make sure you have about one part resin to one part green matter. It lasts longer while burning, and the resin has a sweetness that balances the more acrid smell of the herbal matter.

♦ You can add a few drops of essential oil to your incense blend, but no more than a few; saturating the herbal matter isn’t recommended. Toss the mixture after adding the drops of oil, then put it in a container and seal it to keep the scent until you need to use the incense.

♦ Loose incense is burned on charcoal tablets sold for that purpose, available at ethnic grocery stores, New Age shops, or ecclesiastical supply stores. Hold the tablet with a pair of tweezers or small tongs and hold a flame to the edge. The charcoal will catch, and a series of small red sparks will run across it. After a short while the surface of the charcoal will begin to glow red. Lay the tablet down gently on a bed of sand, fine gravel, or a metal mesh in a heatproof bowl. When the tablet glows, take a pinch of your incense blend and sprinkle it on the charcoal. Smoke will begin to rise.

♦ Less is more. Too much incense on the tablet can smother it or produce a staggering amount of smoke that you’ll have to deal with by opening windows to air out the room.

♦ Always have a small fire extinguisher, bottle of water, or bowl of sand nearby to put out the charcoal if necessary.

Incense Blends

Most of these use frankincense or copal as the resin component. Frankincense is an excellent all-purpose resin that possesses energies related to healing, purification, blessing, meditation, serenity, protection, love, and blessing. Golden copal is associated with purification, clearing blockages, blessing, joy, uplifting your mood, and fighting depression.

There are different kinds of copal. Use the yellow copal, sometimes called golden copal (Protium copal). White copal (Shorea javanica) can also be used, but it tends to be more expensive.

To blend incense:

♦ Use a stone mortar and pestle to gently crush the resin if it is not in small granules. Don’t grind too hard or the resin will start to melt and become gummy. Think of cracking the resins instead. Transfer the resins to a small jar or other container.

♦ Separately, grind the dried herbs, or rub them between your fingers to crumble them. Add any drops of essential oil to the dried herbs, stir, then add the herbs to the container with the resins.

♦ Cap and shake gently to combine.

♦ Use 1/2 teaspoon incense at a time, no more.

Serenity Incense

♦ 9—12 drops jasmine essential oil

♦ 1 teaspoon frankincense resin

♦ 1 teaspoon copal resin

♦ 2 teaspoons white sandalwood powder

Grounding Incense

♦ 1 teaspoon patchouli

♦ 1 teaspoon sandalwood (red)

♦ 2 teaspoons myrrh resin

♦ 1 drop vanilla extract

Joy Incense

♦ 1 teaspoon dried lemon zest

♦ 1 teaspoon dried orange zest

♦ 9—12 drops bergamot essential oil

♦ 2 teaspoons copal resin

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Peace Incense

♦ 9 drops gardenia or ylang-ylang essential oil

♦ 1 teaspoon dried lavender

♦ 1 teaspoon dried rose petals

♦ 2 teaspoons frankincense resin

Healing Incense

♦ 1 teaspoon amber

♦ 1 teaspoon copal resin

♦ 1 teaspoon dried lemon zest

♦ 1 teaspoon dried orange zest