Thursday, November 29, 2012

Scott Cunningham on Incense and how to make your own

There are basically two forms of incense:combustible and nocombustible.
We'll tackle the latter first, since it's by far the easiest method and requires little explanation.
No combustible incense is achieved by simply sprinkling a few pinches of dried plant material,
Or a blend of materials, on a smoldering charcoal block. That's a charcoal block, not a charcoal
Briquette used for the barbecue! Briquettes are of different composition, and give off toxic amounts
Of carbon monoxide. Don't use them to burn incense! Instead, occult supply stores, and many
Novelty shops carry a supply of raw charcoal blocks for this purpose.

While we're in a cautious mode, let it be said that you should always burn incense in some type
Of censor. It could be a censor purchased just for this purpose, or a ceramic dish laid with a few
Inches of sand or salt. Sometimes the sweet aroma of dried plant material can change dramatically
When burned! You'll need to experiment with blends you may already have in mind, or to discover
New ones. And, by using the no combustible method, your mistakes, if any, will be short lived.

I would also advise that you sample mixtures on smoldering charcoal before proceeding to making
Them into combustible incense. The plant material to be used should be finely ground in a food
Processor, blender, hand held coffee grinder, or an old fashioned mortar and pestle.

Combustible incense is made in the form of sticks (sometimes called joss-sticks) , bricks, or cones.
Whatever the volume and shape, combustible incense is always made with potassium nitrate,
Better known as salt peter. This helps the incense to burn well, and evenly. You can find potassium
Nitrate in nearly any drug store, although you may have to ask the pharmacist for it.

You will need thin wooden splints or skewers, such as thin, straight twigs, or cocktail skewers.
Each stick is dipped into the incense base until covered. They are then allowed to dry standing
On end, perhaps by poking them into a slab of clay, or a pot of dirt or sand. This process is
Repeated until a satisfactory amount of layers have built up on each stick
Block incense is made by rolling out the final mixture on wax paper to a 1/4 inch thickness -
Much like cookie dough. Then cut into 1 inch squares and allow to dry thoroughly.
And there you have it! Not so tough, although you will get good use from a kitchen apron
While working the mixtures together!

Courage: Black Pepper, Frankincense, Geranium, Thyme

Divination: Camphor, Clove, Orange

Happiness: Lavender, Meadowsweet

Healing/Health: Bay, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Lemon Balm, Lime, Palmarosa, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Violet

Love: Apricot, Basil, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Geranium, Ginger, Jasmine, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Rose, Rosemary, Vetivert, Violet, Yarrow

Luck: Nutmeg, Orange, Rose, Vetivert, Violet

Lust: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Lemongrass, Olive, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Vanilla

Money & Riches: Basil, Chamomile, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Nutmeg, Orange, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Vetivert, Wood Aloe

Peace: Lavender, Pennyroyal, Violet

Magickal Power: Ginger, Tangerine, Vanilla

Protection: Anise, Basil, Bay, Black Pepper, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Honeysuckle, Juniper, Lavender, Lime, Myrrh, Niaouli, Patchouli, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetivert, Violet

Psychic Awareness: Bay, Camphor, Cassia, Cinnamon, Clove, Honeysuckle, Lemongrass, Lilac, Mace, Nutmeg, Orange, Peppermint, Rose, Thyme, Yarrow

Purification: Benzoin, Chamomile, Camphor, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Verbena, Lime, Musk, Myrrh, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sandalwood

Spirituality: Cassia, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Jasmine, Myrrh, Pine, Sandalwood, Wisteria

Incense Herbs Magical Intent Herbs

Astral Projection
Gum Benzoin, Dittany of Crete, Cinnamon, Jasmine, Poplar, Sandalwood

Anise, Camphor, Clove, Hibiscus, Meadowsweet, Mugwort, Orange, Orris Root

Angelica, Basil, Clove, Copal Resin, Cumin, Dragons Blood Resin, Frankincense, Fumitory, Garlic, Heliotrope, horehound, Juniper, Lilac, Mallow, Mistletoe, Myrrh Resin, Cayenne, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sagebrush, Sandalwood, Snapdragon, Thistle, Vetivert, Yarrow

Apple Blossom, Apricot, Basil, Camomile, Catnip, Chickweed, Cinnamon, Clove, Copal Resin, Coriander, Cumin, Dragons Blood Resin, Dill, Gardenia, Rose Geranium, Ginger Root, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Lime, Lotus, Marjoram, Mastic Resin, Mimosa, Myrtle, Neroli Oil, Orange, Orris Root, Rose, Peppermint, Plumeria, Rosemary, Sarsaparilla, Stephanotis, Sweet Pea, Thyme, Tonka Beans, Tuberose, Vanilla Bean, Vervain, Vetivert, Violet, Yarrow, Ylang Ylang

Ambergris Oil, Caraway, Cinnamon, Civet Oil, Cloves, Deerstongue, Ginger Root, Ginseng, Grains of Paradise, Hibiscus, Lemongrass, Nettle, Olive, Parsley, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Saffron, Sesame, Stephanotis, Tuberose, Vanilla Beans, Yerba Mate

Allspice, Almond, Basil, Bergamot, Calamus, Chamomile, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cinquefoil, Clove, Clover, Dill, Elder, Galangal Root, Ginger Root, Heliotrope, Honeysuckle, Hyssop, Jasmine, Myrtle, Nutmeg, Oakmoss, Orange, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Sage, Sassafras, Tonka Beans, Vervain, Aloes Wood, Woodruff

Cumin, Gardenia, Lavender, Lilac, Magnolia, Meadowsweet, Narcissus, Pennyroyal, Tuberose, Violet

Angelica, Anise, Gum Arabic, Asafotida (note: EXTREMELY foul smelling. Do not use in an enclosed space or use more than a tiny, tiny bit and then only as a last resort.) Balm of Gilead Buds, Basil, Bay, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Calamus, Caraway, Carnation, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cinquefoil, Cloves, Clover, Copal Resin, Cumin, Cypress, Dill, Dragons Blood Resin, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Fern, Flax, Frankincense, Galangal Root, Rose Geranium, Heather, Hyssop, Honeysuckle, hyacinth, juniper, Lavender, Lilac, Lime, Lotus, Mandrake, Marigold, Mimosa, Mistletoe, Mugwort, Myrrh Resin, Orris Root, Patchouli, Pennyroyal, Peony, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Rue, Sage, Sandalwood, Thistle, Valerian (Smells like dog dung. Use only small quantities if used.) Vervain, Vetivert, Violet, Wood Aloes, Woodruff, Wormwood

Psychic Ability
Gum Acacia, Anise, Bay, Camphor Gum, Cassia, Cinnamon, Citron Peel, Clove, Cinquefoil, Flax, Galangal Root, Gardenia, Heliotrope, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Lilac, Mace, Marigold, Gum Mastic, Mimosa, Mugwort, Nutmeg, Orange, Orris Root, Peppermint, Rose, Saffron, Star Anise, Thyme, Tuberose, Wormwood, Yarrow

Anise, Gum Arabic, Bay, Gum Benzoin, Calamus, Camomile, Camphor Resin, Cedar, Cinnamon, Copal Resin, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Rennel, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Verbena, Lime, Musk Oil, Mimosa, Myrrh, Parsley, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Thyme, Tobacco (remember the Surgeon General warning), Valerian (Smells like dog dung. Use only small quantities if used.), Vervain

Some Commonly Used Incense Herbs You May Want to Keep on Hand

The following ingredients are often used in incense recipes and you may want to keep them around the house for blending your own incense. As you make more incense you can alter the list to suit the type of work you do most often. The form used is given with the name of the herb.

Frankincense Resin
Myrrh resin
Benzoin resin
Copal resin
Pine resin
Camphor resin
Dragon's Blood resin
Gum Arabic resin
Rose petals dried and powdered
Bay leaves dried and powdered
Cinnamon bark powdered
Juniper berries dried and powdered
Cedar needles dried and powdered or wood chips
Sandalwood chips
Thyme whole herb dried
Vervain whole herb dried and powdered
Orange peel dried and powdered
Vertivert grass dried and powdered
Rosemary leaves dried and powdered
Basil whole herb dried and powdered
Mullein leaves dried and powdered
Cloves buds dried and powdered
Rue whole herb dried and powdered
Patchouli whole herb dried and powdered
Sage whole herb dried and powdered
Wormwood whole herb dried and powdered
Mugwort whole herb dried and powdered
Allspice berries dried and powdered
Tobacco whole herb dried and powdered
Lavender whole herb dried and powdered

This list gives you a wide range of correspondences plus the essentials such as Frankincense, Myrrh and Sandalwood which you will use often.

Recipe for Homemade Charcoals


Barbecue Charcoals
Potassium Nitrate
Egg Whites - or - Plain Knox Gelatin - or - Agar

The hardest part of this recipe is grinding up the charcoals, they're really a bugger to pulverize. I've had the best luck using a hammer. You could just hit them with it, but then you'd have charcoal bits flying everywhere. You have to contain them in something that won't be punctured by the sharp pieces while you pound them up. I have tried a number of sorts of bags and canvas works the best. The problem is getting a canvas bag. I don't know of anywhere they are sold, I happened to have some from some sandbags. You could sew one, they sell canvas or poplin at every fabric store. Put the charcoals, the regular barbecue kind, in the bag about 5-7 at a time and pound away. Get as close to powder as you can repounding the larger pieces to break them up more.

When you have your charcoal ready you add potassium nitrate powder, one part to three parts of charcoal powder. You can buy the potassium nitrate at the pharmacy in that little section where they have the iodine and flowers of sulfur. The potassium nitrate is what will keep the charcoal burning. To form the loose powder into patties you add egg whites, just the whites, until you create a paste. How many egg whites you will require depends upon how many charcoals you used. Just keep adding them until you can get the paste to hold together. You may substitute plain, unflavored, Knox gelatin mixed with enough warm water to dissolve it into a thick gel if you like. Vegans may use agar from the health food store which is a seaweed product.

Form the paste into little patties about 1 1/2 to 2 inches across. You can use those mini muffin tins if you have them. Let the patties dry completely, this may take a couple of days. You want them crispy with no wet centers. When they are absolutely dry you can store them in tightly closed glass jars to keep them fresh. If you keep them in plastic bags they will draw damp and not burn properly. To use the charcoals you must have a proper incense burner. If placed in a glass or ceramic container to burn it may shatter and a metal container will burn the surface it sits on. They will become too hot to use in a ceramic or glass container without sand or salt in it to absorb and dissipate the heat. You can use a bowl of any sort with about two inches of either sand or salt in it. Light the charcoal with a match, it may take a try or two. The burning charcoal may sparkle or pop a bit, this is the potassium nitrate. You may notice a slight scent from the
burning egg white, but it goes away. Put the herb, wood, resin or oil on the smoldering charcoal to burn.

From Incence, oils, and Brews by Scott Cummingham

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