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Thread: Incense Magick

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Washington state
    I leave and come back to the same kind of position you're talking about with the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic and now identify more with the Pagan/Witch side of things. Sometimes I think of it as Folk Christianity/Catholicism, since my family reveres the Trinity and the Blessed Virgin Mary, but keeps a lot of the Old World native beliefs with it. I heard an interesting quote from another poster somewhere, that they were a 'practicing Christian, not a believing Christian'. The dogma and holier-than-thou always gets on my nerves, but I do acknowledge the practice of magick as it has been presented to me in the church. I simply don't think of it as the only way to God/Deity.

    An interesting quote I read from a book called "Daily Afflictions" by Brother Zero (a tongue-in-cheek book with pessimistic takes on the 'daily affirmations' we find everywhere) was this quote: "I choose to be chosen." If life is like a supermarket, we are able to choose and put back identities at anytime. Yet if nothing fits, then put it back. Let the destinies, fates, gods choose us.

    It's a challenging proposition, and I've been there wondering "Hello? Is anyone really there?" and getting back nothing. It's a normal part of the process. I can't say how it will work out for you, since we are all unique. But I hope you find what you are looking for--or that the one looking for you is the right one. Good luck.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Corvallis, OR, USA

    Glad to see...

    Quote Originally Posted by Simply Puzzled View Post
    By putting the focus on the incense itself, you are valuing the tool over the craftsman. Certain incenses are conducive to certain states of mind. Saffron zonks me out pretty quickly, but that's about all incense can do. The intent and the focus and all of the things that make a spell "work" are inherent in the person themselves.

    [snip] This stands in stark contrast to the idea that simply burning incense will purify the space or that the incense itself with bring money. I think this is asking a bit too much of some dried herbs.
    ...such a long-lived thread on this topic. I haven't dropped by MW in years but was warmed to see this dicussion when I dropped in today, even it it started years ago!

    I must take issue with the post quoted above. I strongly disagree. Yes, the practitioner is the most critical element in magick, however, plants, stones, and other materials have inheirent energies within them. As an animist I take issue with these kinds of views, although I recognize the validity of the thought and schooling behind them. No disrespect is intended in my response.

    Plants spend months, years, decades, or even centuries growing. Years in the sun (fire), drenched by rain (water), with their roots in the ground (earth) and their leaves in the breeze (air) absorb and align energy throughout their lives. Of course "simply burning incense" can and does purify spaces. Here is why:

    1. Incense is made with intent and focus - the incense maker herself aligns the inheirent energies within the incense ingredients, but that in no way means that there isn't VAST amounts of energy within the materials themselves.

    2. Years spent growing (as outlined earlier) turns these humble ingredients into magickal energy storehouses. While that energy is widely unaligned, the traditional associations with those materials often accurately point out the tendency of the material to align energy in a certain way (e.g. sage is used for cleansing).

    3. Many incense materials are energy juggernaughts. Take amber for instance. Amber is fossilized tree resin. By definition, this resin has to be a minimum of 100,000 years old to qualify as amber. Most amber is substainially older than that (millions of years older). Just imagine, years growing in the sun, wind, and rain, then epochs buried within the earth as it matures. Think of how much Earth energy that resin has absorbed.

    Cleansing is certainly something that incense can do without any outside aid, especially if made by a skilled practitioner for that purpose. Suggesting that sage has no cleansing properties of its own would negate thousands of years of smudging practices alone.

    Expecting "some dried herbs" to cleanse a space is not only reasonable, but is part of basic incense making training. Generally speaking, incense is a "magickal battery" that is loaded with energy - that's why we use it. It is the job of practitioners to utilize that energy. Unaligned incense that is lit and forgotten is far less effective than incense used properly, but let's not religate incense (or any "dried herbs") to being a magickal afterthought or an unenergized tool. That flies in the face of thousands of years of tradition and practice.

    I respect your perspective but strongly disagree.

    Author of

    Incense Magick: Create Inspiring Aromatic Experiences for Your Craft (ISBN 978-0738719740)
    Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents (ISBN 0738703362)
    The Magick Toolbox: The ultimate compendium for choosing & using ritual implements and magickal tools (ISBN 1578633249)

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