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INCENSE MAGICK

When incense is burned prior to magical workings, fragrant smoke also purifies the altar
and the surrounding area of negative, disturbing vibrations. Though such a purification
isn't usually necessary, it, once again, helps create the appropriate mental state necessary
for the successful practice of Magic. When the incense is smoldered in a ritual setting it
undergoes a transformation. The vibrations, no longer trapped in their physical form, are
released into the environment. Their energies, mixing with those who use them, speed out
to effect the changes necessary to the manifestation of the Magickal goal.

You needn't limit incense use to ritual, but avoid burning healing incense just for the
smell, or to freshen up your stale house. Burning magickally constructed and empowered
incenses when they're not needed is a waste of energy. If you wish to burn a pleasant-
smelling incense, compound a household mixture for this purpose.

The Making of Incense

The Materials

Incenses are composed of a variety of leaves, flowers, roots, barks, woods, resins, gums
and oils. Semiprecious stones may also be added to incenses to lend their energies to the
mixture. Out of the literally hundreds of potential incense ingredients, perhaps 14 are
most frequently used. Keep a stock of these herbs on hand if you plan to make several
incense. These might include:
Frankincense, Myrrh, Benzoin, Copal, Rose petals, Bay, Cinnamon, Pine needles or
resin(pitch) Juniper Sandalwood Cedar Thyme Basil Rosemary

Be aware that many plants (if not all) smell quite different when being smoldered. Sweet
scents turn sour fast.

The Two Forms of Incense

Two types of incense are used in Magic: the combustible and the noncombustible. The
former contains potassium nitrate (saltpeter) to aid in burning, while the latter does not.
Therefore combustible incense can be burned in the form of bricks, cones, sticks and
other shapes, whereas noncumbustible incense must be sprinkled onto glowing charcoal
blocks to release its fragrance.
Noncombustible Incense

Be sure you have all necessary ingredients. If you lack any, decide on substitutions. Each
ingredient must be finely ground, preferably to a powder, using either a mortar and pestle
or an electric grinder. Some resins won't powder easily, but with practice you'll find the
right touch. When all is ready, fix your mind on the incense's goal. In a large wooden or
ceramic bowl, mix the resins and gums together with your hands. While mingling these
fragrant substances, also mix their energies. Visualize your personal power--vibrating
with your Magickal goal--exiting your hands and entering the incense.

Next, mix in all the powdered leaves, barks, flowers and roots. As you mix, continue to
visualize or concentrate on the incense's goal. Now add any oils or liquids that are
included in the recipe. Just a few drops are usually sufficient. Once all has been
thoroughly mixed, add any powdered stones or other power boosters. The incense is now
fully compounded. Empower the incense and it is done. Store in a tightly capped jar.
Label carefully, including the name of the incense and date of composition. It is ready for
use when needed.

Combustible Incense

Combustible incense (in the form of cones, blocks, and sticks) is fairly complex in its
composition, but many feel the results are worth the extra work. Gum tragacanth glue or
mucilage is the basic ingredient of all molded incenses. Gum tragacanth is available at
some herb stores. It is rather expensive, but a little will last for months. To make
tragacanth glue, place a teaspoon of the ground herb in a glass of warm water. Mix
thoroughly until all particles are dispersed. To facilitate this, place in a bowl and whisk or
beat with an egg beater. This will cause foam to rise, but it can be easily skimmed off or
allowed to disperse. The gum tragacanth has enormous absorption qualities; an ounce will
absorb up to one gallon of water in a week.

Let the tragacanth absorb the water until it becomes a thick, bitter-smelling paste. The
consistency of the mixture depends on the form of incense desired. For sticks (the most
difficult kind to make), the mixture should be relatively thin. For blocks and cones a
thicker mucilage should be made. This where practice comes in handy; after a session or
two you will automatically know when the mucilage is at the correct consistency.

If you can't find tragacanth, try using gum arabic in its place. This, too, absorbs water.
When you have made the trag glue, cover with a wet cloth and set aside. It will continue
to thicken as it sits, so if it becomes too thick add a bit of water and stir thoroughly. Next,
make up the incense base:

Cone Incense Base 6 parts ground Charcoal (not self-igniting), 1 part ground Benzoin, 2
parts ground Sandalwood, 1 part ground Orris root (this "fixes" the scent), 6 drops
essential oil (use the oil form of one of the ingredients in the incense), 2 to 4 parts mixed,
empowered incense.

Mix the first four ingredients until all are well blended. Add the drops of essential oil and
mix again with you hands. The goal is to create a powdered mixture with a fine texture. If
you wish, run the mixture through a grinder or mortar again until it is satisfactory. Add 2
to 4 parts of the completed and empowered incense mixture. Combine this well with your
hands.

Then using a small kitchen scale, weigh the completed incense and add ten percent
potassium nitrate. If you've made ten ounces of incense, add one ounce potassium nitrate.
Mix this until the white powder is thoroughly blended. Next, add the trag glue. Do this a
teaspoon at a time, mixing with your hands in a large bowl until all ingredients are
wetted. For cone incense you'll need a very stiff, dough-like texture. If it is too thick it
won't properly form into cones and will take forever to dry. The mixture should mold
easily and hold its shape.

On a piece of waxed paper, shape the mixture into basic cone shapes, exactly like the
ones you've probably bought. If this form isn't used, the incense might not burn properly.
When you've made up your cone incense, let it dry for two to seven days in a warm place.
Your incense is finished.

Stick Incense

Add more trag glue to the mixed incense and base until the mixture is wet but still rather
thick. The trick here is in determining the proper thickness of the incense/trag mixture
and in finding appropriate materials to use. Try homemade wooden or bamboo splints,
broom straws, very thin twigs, or those long wooden cocktail skewers. Dip the sticks into
the mixture, let them sit upright and then dip again. Several dippings are usually
necessary; this is a most difficult process.

When the sticks have accumulated a sufficient amount of the incense, poke them into a
slab of clay or some other substance so that they stand upright. Allow them to dry. One
variation on stick incense making uses a stiffer incense dough. Pat down the dough on
waxed paper until it is very thin. Place the stick on the dough. Roll a thin coating of
dough around the stick. The incense shouldn't be more than twice the thickness of the
stick. Squeeze or press it onto the stick so that it will stay put, and let dry.

Incense Papers

Incense papers are a delightful variation of combustible incense. Here, rather than using
charcoal and gum tragacanth, tinctures and paper are the basic ingredients. To make
incense papers, take a piece of white blotter paper and cut it into six-inch strips about an
inch wide. Next, add 1 1/2 teaspoons potassium nitrate to 1/2 cup very warm water. Stir
until potassium nitrate is completely dissolved. Soak the paper strips in the nitrate
solution until thoroughly saturated. Hang them to dry.

You now have the paper versions of the charcoal blocks used to burn incense. The
obstacle in scenting them is to overcome the normal smell of burning of burning paper.
For this reason, heavy fragrances should be used, such as tinctures. Tinctures
compounded from gums and resins seem to produce the best results. Empower the
tincture(s) with you Magickal need, then pour a few drops of the tincture onto one strip of
paper. Smear this over the paper and add more drops until it is completely coated on one
side. Hang the strip up to dry and store in labeled, airtight container until needed.
To speed drying, turn o the oven to a low temperature, leave the door open, and place the
soaked incense papers on the rack. Remove them when dry. Generally speaking, incense
papers should be made with one tincture rather than mixtures. To use incense papers,
simply remove one paper and hold it above your censer. Light one tip with a match, and
after it is completely involved in flame, quickly blow it out. Place the glowing paper in
your censer and let it smolder, visualizing or working your Magickal ritual. Incense
papers should burn slowly and emit a pleasant scent.

Plain unscented papers can be used in place of charcoal blocks. For this purpose soak the
papers in the potassium nitrate solution and let dry, then set one alight in the censer.
Sprinkle a thin layer of the incense over the paper. As it burns the paper will also smolder
your incense. You may have difficulty in keeping incense paper lit. The secret here is to
allow air to circulate below the papers. You can ensure this by either placing the paper on
some heat-proof object in the censer, or by filling the censer with salt or sand and
thrusting one end of the paper into this, much as you might with incense sticks. The paper
should burn all the way to its end.
Incense and their Purpose

Blue Berry- Burn to keep unwanted influences away from your home and property
Blue Roses- Specially crafted to honour the Goddess in all her aspects
Carnations- A sweet floral scent traditionally used for healing
Cherry- Sacred to Venus, this blend will attract and stimulate love
Cinnamon- Use to gain wealth and success
Coconut- Use to gain wealth and success
Copal- Sacred to the Mayan and Aztecs, this blend is suitable for honouring the Gods
Frangipani- Burn to brighten your home with friendship and love
Frankincense- Draw upon the energy of the sun to create sacred space, consecrate
objects, and stimulate positive vibration.
Honeysuckle- Burn for good health, luck, and psychic power
Jasmine- For luck in general, especially in matters relating to love
Lotus- For inner peace and outer harmony, to aid in meditation and open the mind's eye
Musk- Burn for courage and vitality, or to highten sensual passion
Myrrh- An ancient incense for protection, healing, purification and spirituality
Passionflower- For peace of mind, this sweet scent will soothe troubles and aid in sleep
Patchouli- An earthy scent used in money and attraction spells
Pine- Burn for strength, and to reverse negative energies
Rose- For love magic, and to return calm energies to the home
Sandalwood- A delicious all purpose scent used to heal and protect, also for purification
Spice- A fiery scent to be charged for any magic
Spirit- Raise your personal vibration, attract spirit guides and honour your personal deity
Strawberry- For love, luck and friendship
Tangerine- A solar aroma used to attract prosperity
Temple- A devotional incense for the altar during ritual
Vanilla- Stimulate amorous appetites and enhance memory.

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