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Thread: Making Incense

  1. #1
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    Making Incense

    This may seem like a potentially silly question, but I'm hoping you'll have some mercy in your answers. :D

    I am very much a user of incense and herbs for smudging, purifying and cleansing. Mainly my choice is sage, and it's quite easy to come by. Though when I read another user's post mentioning mugwort as an aid for lucid/guided dreaming I thought to myself, "I wonder if they have cone/stick incense that I could buy to have the same effect without having to smoke it." I have yet to purchase any or try it, mainly because I'd like to make my own for this very purpose.

    So for those all-knowing incense makers, is it possible to make incense out of any kind of plant?
    (Excluding, of course, the kinds you obviously shouldn't burn due to issues like toxins.) And would the process of creation of cone incense destroy the properties of the plant that give the effects? (Such as weakening or eliminating the properties in mugwort.) I was reading up on the process of how to make some, and it SEEMS like you can use pretty much anything, but it would be wonderful if someone could give me a little education on the matter.

    Thanks!
    Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

  2. #2
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    Hello,

    I make homemade loose incense out of herbs, resins and oils for my own personal use for spells and protection "charms".

    You can make incense out of almost any (dried) herb out there... Pennyroyal is toxic to pregnant women but it can be used in a well ventilated area or outdoors by those who are not expecting. Common herbs and resins in homemade incense include sage, lavender, angelica root, Frankincense, dragon's blood and vervain.

    What one does is grind the herbs in something like a mortar and pestle and mix them together in various proportions for the incense recipe, let it "meld" together in a dark, cool place for a while (let the properties of the herbs blend together) and sprinkle it over something like burning charcoal or in a fire to "burn".

    I will warn everyone that a lot of the time, the first use smells a lot like "weed" being burned but it does smell better over time as it "sits", and its resonance will become stronger.

    I thought there was a resource thread for the magical properties of herbs in MW but can't seem to find it! There is a couple of books out with the listing though, "Book of Shadows" by Scott Cunningham is one and it's a good reference book... I know because I have the book in my own pagan collection. I highly recommend it.

    Hope this helps!
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen King.

  3. #3
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    Another book I highly recommend is "Natural Magic" by Pamela J. Ball. It not only has a listing of the magical properties of herbs, there are recipes for various incenses in the book. Awesome read too!
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen King.

  4. #4
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    I make cones using dried herbs and Makko. I have found them to work just like the loose herbs would. Best thing is you don't get all the smoke,which I like but isn't always practical.

  5. #5
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    You guys rock!

    So in regards to making a "loose" burning incense, how would this work in a more closed, indoor space like an apartment? Are there mini-charcoal burners specifically for this purpose? I would totally bypass the cone making if I could assemble something like that.
    Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

  6. #6
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    You get a heat proof container, add sand, get some charcoal tabs that are made for burning indoors and then just put your herbs on the tab. It makes a lot of smoke. I live in a house and have to open windows but it's great when you are cleaning a bigger space or items.

  7. #7
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    A little goes a long way with loose incenses. I have a resin "forest blend" I'm using lately, and when I do use it I better have the windows open! Just one little chunk makes A LOT of smoke.

    Years ago I experimented with making my own incense. I lived in a desert area, so we had wild sage growing everywhere which I would harvest. I took the sage leaves, some home grown lavender and some honey and made little blobs, which then I dried out on wax paper for a few weeks. The result was pretty nice! Pine resin also works great as a natural incense - find the dried bits on trees and burn them on a charcoal tab. Now that I'm settled in my new home, I'm thinking of making incense again - probably will go the herbs mixed with honey route again.
    Last edited by The Grumble; April 27th, 2012 at 10:50 AM. Reason: Typo!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackestLily View Post
    You guys rock!

    So in regards to making a "loose" burning incense, how would this work in a more closed, indoor space like an apartment? Are there mini-charcoal burners specifically for this purpose? I would totally bypass the cone making if I could assemble something like that.
    I use sandalwood incense cones and an incense censor that my husband gave me for my birthday several years ago, that works for me, I live in my own house and I always crank the windows WIDE open even if it's in the middle of winter! If I do a ritual outside using our firepit, I just sprinkle the incense over the fire and it will input its vibrations that way.

    BUT what works for one may not work for someone else. What Ula suggested would probably work perfectly fine for your apartment.
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen King.

  9. #9
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    As loose incense goes, I would recommend something like this little beauty to burn it in.

    They're designed for burning loose incense on a coal, and I've done so with the thing sitting on top of a wooden book case. The bottom gets hot, but not hot enough to ignite anything around it. I also find that the grate is... uh. Great. for making the smoke disperse better. Forgive mine for being dirty, I have yet to figure out what gets resin off of brass.

    If you do want to try making stick or cone incense, it is actually very easy. All you have to do is grind up the herbs you like until they are powder-fine and mix with something that allows for even burning, such as makko, sandalwood, or benzoin depending on the properties I want the incense to have. I'd guesstimate on my mixtures about two tablespoons of burning agent to every 1/6 cup of herbal material produces a long, even burning incense. Then just add water until it's doughy and easy to work with, and form cones or sticks or balls from it. If you do sticks, they like to curl up, what I did to combat that was to put them in between popsickle sticks, like popsickle stick/incense stick/popsickle stick/incense stick, and so on, and then lay a few popsickle sticks across the top.

  10. #10
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    barfcookies, that is pretty!!
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen King.

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