When I think about incense, I can immediately see the smoke curling upward, spreading outward in waves, distributing the sweet, earthy scent and my mind is immediately calmed. There is a reason it has been used in temples and other places of worship for as far back as we can trace human history. Perhaps there is something in us that still remembers these times of old, feeling a sense of spirit and community. Incense is derived from the Latin word meaning “to burn,” and burning wood and herbs is a part of our ancestry out of necessity and a need for safety. This may be a part of the comfort you feel when smelling the smoke of herbs.
Spiritually, the smoke is considered to be what cleanses the energy of the area in which it is burned by activating the spirit of the plant and creating a guard against negativity. In this way, it differs from other methods of aromatherapy such as oils and candles. Aromatherapy stimulates our olfactory system and associating a smell with a particular place or event can trigger the same feeling evoked by that experience.
When I visited a Buddhist temple in China, the smell of incense was so strong it coated my clothes and hair even long after I left. Recently, I happened upon an incense stick with a similar smell, so every time I burn it, I am transported back to the excitement of experiencing an unfamiliar culture. Have you ever noticed most metaphysical shops smell like Nag Champa? When I smell that scent, it gets me in the mood to buy witchy things! Likewise, you can create a calm atmosphere with lavender or a focused work session with patchouli by repeatedly burning them in their corresponding situations until you begin to associate those smells with relaxing and working.
Used during meditation, incense encourages mindfulness by stimulating the senses, helping your mind focus on the here and now. As you breathe deeply, you smell the aroma, and seeing the seeing the tendrils of smoke creating patterns in the air connects us with the element. Air can be difficult to connect with because it is more elusive than earth for example, something you can physically feel. The smoke helps us see the air, making us more grounded and attuned.
Choosing Your Ingredients
The purest way to use incense is loose incense blends, which are just herbs with no additives. That way, you are not canceling out the purifying benefits by sending toxins into the air. You can buy some premixed in the shop, or try making some of your own! Get started with this Incense Burning Kit for Witches.
When blending your own incense, it is good to choose no more than three herbs to start out. Three is a sacred number in many religions and ancient cultures, and you can even see that in witchcraft with the triple goddess, for example. Keeping your mixes to three herbs will ensure it doesn’t smell “brown,” like what you get when you mix too many colors of paint together. I have listed some herbs that make lovely incense and their properties below, along with a few suggestions for blends!
How to Burn Loose Incense
In order to burn loose incense, you will need to use a charcoal disc. A charcoal disc ensures the herbs stay lit instead of extinguishing after a few minutes so you can enjoy the scent for the entirety of your meditation or ritual. First, light the disc until it catches fire inside a heat-safe dish. If it is self-igniting, sparks will travel along the surface once it is lit. Wait until the disc turns gray with ash on the surface before scooping your incense onto it. Be careful, charcoal can burn as hot as 1500°F so don’t leave it unattended.
Begin with a resin as the base of your blend. As a base note to your incense, this will not only improve the smell but also prolong the burn time. Most resins are the dried sap of a tree or powdered wood. Choose one of the following:
- Frankincense is burned to drive away negativity and purify and consecrate sacred spaces. Popular for meditation, Frankincense induces psychic visions and spiritual growth. An uplifting scent, it increases joy and creativity.
- Copal invokes love, blessing, dedication, and happiness. Burn this purifying resin to open the third eye and enhance psychic intuition.
- Dragon’s Blood is burned for protection, purification, and driving away negativity. Add it to your incense blend to give a power boost to rituals and spells.
- Sandalwood aids with meditation and can be burned to bring love, peace, comfort, healing, spirituality, purification, and protection. This sacred wood removes tension and replaces it with awareness.
Next, choose one or two herbs that match your intention:
- Lavender promotes peace, healing, love, happiness, tranquility, and protection. Burned, it promotes restful sleep and the ashes scattered around the home maintains this peaceful state. Lavender is commonly used to relieve stress and create a relaxing atmosphere.
- Rosemary is burned for its powerful cleansing and purifying properties. When mixed with juniper berries, rosemary was burned to promote healing in sickrooms. Rosemary provides protection from negative energy and boosts the memory and mood. It can be used in ancestor work to stimulate ancestral remembrance.
- Cinnamon is not only a grounding and warming scent, but it also vibrates at a high frequency, speeding up the process of any spell, especially prosperity and love spells because it draws money and passionate romance. It can also be used to increase focus, healing, success, purification, protection, psychic intuition.
- Patchouli is burned to stimulate clairvoyance and divination. It also attracts money, love and lust, fertility, passion, and creativity. After burning, the ashes can be used in place of graveyard dirt.
- Orange Peel lifts the mood and helps ease general gloominess. Burned, it attracts love, joy, purification, and prosperity.
- Peppermint raises good vibrations and purifies negative vibrations, preserves health and clarity of mind. Burn to draw money, love, sleep, healing, psychic powers, and success.
- Rose is most commonly thought of for its associations with love spells but it has a myriad of other uses as well! Rose can be used for healing rituals, to draw in energies of natural beauty, self-love, and good fortune. When burned in the home, it protects against stress and household conflicts.
- Jasmine is burned to induce sleep and prophetic dreams, enhance visions and psychic intuition, and draw wealth and money. Jasmine can balance hormones and increase libido. It is commonly used for love, attraction, prosperity, and tranquility.
INCENSE BLEND RECIPES
Ready to create your own incense? Here are some blends I came up with! Feel free to try them out or create your own.
1. Protected and Calm
Incense Blend Recipe: Frankincense, lavender, and rosemary: frankincense and rosemary and both protective, and lavender is calming to the mind. All three purify the energy, plus this combo smells amazing.
2. Love and Harmony
Incense Blend Recipe: Copal, rose, and jasmine: this sweet floral scent will increase body positivity, personal power, natural beauty, and intuition. When you love yourself you find harmony with the world and others.
3. Happiness and Good Vibes
Incense Blend Recipe: Dragon’s blood, orange peel, and peppermint: No bad vibes allowed! An uplifting blend for when you need a pick me up, peppermint cleanses, while dragon’s blood protects and amplifies, and orange peel improves your mood.
4. Grounded and Focused
Incense Blend Recipe: Sandalwood, cinnamon, and patchouli: this is an earthy smell that is also motivating! Perfect to get you into a manifestation mindset.
Explore our incense collection in the shop, with resins, powders, herbal blends, and tools to enjoy the crafting of incense making!
Saving this article for later? Pin It.