The ancients used Mother Natures’ four elements as an integral and symbolic part of rituals, celebrations and ceremonies, especially those which would insure the ancients a bountiful harvest, fertility, or protection from unfriendly tribes. One could logically wonder if perhaps the interpretations for the use of ceremonial incense may have also included masking odors from sacrificial animals, which were strongly believed to carry prayers to the Pagan Gods. However, historians have found evidence that ancient practitioners discovered the unique vibrations which Herbs, Oils and Incense emit, therefore making them invaluable and complementary tools for magickal, spiritual, and medicinal purposes.
Incense represents the element, Air.
The composition of incense has long been surrounded by Occult mystery lending itself to the mystique surrounding it. There are two types: combustible and the non-combustible. The former contains potassium nitrate (saltpeter) to aid in burning, while the latter does not. Combustible incense can be molded in a variety of forms, although bricks, cones, and sticks are the most familiar and popular. Non-combustible incense must be sprinkled onto a glowing charcoal block in order to release its power and pungent fragrance.
The mystical effect which produces the aesthetically appealing billow or cloud of smoke is obtained from powdered, raw or granular materials. Cones, sticks and block incense burn at a controlled, steady rate, which cannot create desired dramatic effects. The ancients used fire to carry wishes, spells and affirmations out into the Universe.
Magickal incenses are not blended to smell pleasing to the human nose, clear the air or mask odors. They are compounded and used to make things happen, thereby manifesting a goal, purpose or need. While it is true that some magickal incenses produce a pleasant odor; many do not. For countless centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has used censers in which to burn the raw, extremely pungent but cleansing combination of Frankincense and Myrrh. This is a spiritually symbolic form of ancient ceremonial smudging.
Non-combustible raw incense is not as easy to judge or work with. But with the aid of a charcoal block, practitioners have found that granular and powdered incenses are much easier to manage. Home crafted Candles, Oils, Soaps and Incense are ancient, time consuming arts, such as; fall home canning.