Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I - Incense Secrets #paganblogproject

I was very fortunate to learn some techniques for incense blending from my former HPS -- and I picked up a lot of my own tricks over the years -- tricks I'm going to pass on to you!

Okay, so basically you can burn just about any botanical and call it incense, and you would be 100% right. Simple incenses are most frequently resins, blossoms, leaves, woods, etc that are dry enough to burn and have either a pleasant aroma or an effect on the etheric body.

Blended incenses, though, rely on the interplay between components, and the each plant brings its particular attributes to the mix -- not just in a magical sense, but in mundane physical one as well. For instance, dried leaves burn really fast, while woods and resins smolder longer.

I was taught that the most advantageous incense blends consist of a CORE of 5 ingredients. You can use more than 5 in a blend, but start with the 5 basics for a good mix. You can remember these 5 through the acronym FLOWR.

F -- flower/blossom (This can also be dried fruit or berries. You're trying to get to that blossoming part of the plant.)
L -- leaf
O -- oil (Can be an essential oil, base oil, conditioning oil, etc)
W -- wood (Can be the bark or pith. Can also be a root or nut.)
R -- resin

I use a few ingredients, on occasion, that don't fit anywhere on this list, of course. But I always start with my 5 Basics. Other things I might include are a pinch of salt, a little forge scale (the black stuff that flakes off while you forge metal), hair/nails, blood or blood substitutes (like egg, pomegranate juice, etc), ground gemstones. You get the idea. Anything is fair game after the 5 Basics.

Does it always smell pretty to burn, say, sulfur and hair? Heck no! But when that's what the magic calls for, that's what I include. Plus, I make sure to ventilate with things that are stinky, toxic or overwhelmingly smoky.

Magic is often messy, and it is sometimes rank and rancorous. Of course, sometimes it smells and tastes delightful.

Now, *I* think it's fairly obvious that you want all of the part of your incense working toward the same magical goal, but maybe it's still worth repeating. If you've included an ingredient, it shouldn't ONLY be because you needed, say, a wood. That wood should support the work you're doing.

There are a few books that I used as invaluable resources when I was first learning this Art:

Cunningham, Scott. Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs.
Cunningham, Scott. Complete Book of Incenses, Oils, and Brews.
Hopman, Ellen Evert. A Druid's Herbal.

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