Friday, October 21, 2016

Incense Crafting

Incense (from Latin incendere “to burn") is composed of aromatic natural materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned.  Incense can generally be separated into two main types: “non-combustible incense" and “combustible incense". Non-combustible incense is not capable of burning on its own, and requires a separate heat source, such as a charcoal. Combustible incense is lit directly by a flame and then fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smolders and releases fragrance. Direct-burning incense comes in several forms, including incense sticks (or “joss sticks"), cones, and pyramids.

Creating your own non-combustible incense

To create a long-burning complex incense which produces plenty of smoke and provides a good magical charge you will need to work from a formula of at least five different types of ingredients.  You may add as many of each of the five ingredients as you choose, but there should be a minimum of one of each type in each incense you blend.

The five types of ingredients are:

Herbs or Leaves (any dried fragrant botanical leaf or grass)
(such as frankincense, myrrh, dragonsblood, etc.)
(essential oils and high-quality fragrance oils are most desirable)
Wood or Roots
(such as sandalwood, cedar chips, angelica, etc.)
Blossoms or Berries
(these can be dried flowers, petals, or fruits)

In addition to the above list you may choose to add extra magical ingredients, such as ground gemstones, salt, nuts, honey, wine or juice, aromatic seeds, and magical powders or dirts.

You will want to consult a formulary or book of correspondences when you begin blending your own incenses for inspiration, magical associations, and health warnings.  There are some traditional incense recipes that are made with dangerous or poisonous ingredients.

Keep record of the incenses you make in a personal formulary, so that you will remember the proportions and ingredients for your favorite blends.  Store your incense in an airtight container and it will keep for at least a year.  Incenses usually improve upon some aging (about two weeks) so that the different scents blend together.  Burn your incense on a hot charcoal to release its fragrance and its magical properties.

NOTE - This article was originally published by Laurelei on the Blade and Broom blog.

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