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How to make Incense
Incense making: Discover how to make incense the way it's been made by virtually every civilization since before the Stone Age; with fine natural incense resins, woods and herbs.
Incense making is a meditative and enjoyable way to exercise our creativity. It's simple, inexpensive and awakens us to the pleasures of earth's aromatic treasures and our interconnection with nature. Create recipes that greet the rising sun with a clean and invigorating aroma, entertain guests with exotic fragrances, purify indoor spaces, enhance dream activity, relax with a soft, smooth, calming mixture that eases the troubles of the day, or blend a warm, sweet and seductive mixture to stimulate your sensuality for an evening of mystery and intimacy.
Since antiquity incense has been used for creating aromatic, fragrant spaces both indoors and out. Incense has always been deeply intertwined with religious ceremonies as well as the practice of medicine. In fact the first reported healing practices, recorded in ancient Egypt, exposed patients to the smoke of incense for healing.
Strengthen your connection to nature as soft clouds of frankincense, mastic, storax, sandalwood, juniper and lemon grass ascend to the heavens! Lets rediscover the ancient art of how to make incense.
Natural Incense Making
What "type" of incense will you make?
How will you heat your incense?
If you are making cones or sticks then burning your incense is straight forward and simple; you light one end of the cone or stick, fan out the flame and allow it to slowly burn of its own accord. Note: In some cultures it is considered disrespectful to all that is nature to "blow" out the flame.
If you are burning loose incense mixtures or incense pellets, then you'll need charcoal or makko to heat your mixtures.
If you are burning incense outdoors; individual ingredients, loose mixtures and incense pellets can be placed directly in a small campfire (best when there are just glowing coals remaining, no flame) or on a hot rock on the outer rim of a campfire, etc.
Incense burning vessel
- varies by the "type" of incense you will be burning
Styles of burning non-combustible incense
Lets look at three ancient methods for burning "loose incense" or "incense pellets":
Okay, now that you have chosen what type of incense you wish to enjoy and what kind of incense burner you'll use, it's time to start enjoying the fine art of incense making.
The first thing we need is to assemble our list of tools and supplies to make and burn our incense.
Tools / Supplies
The starting ground for making fine aromatic incense mixtures is using high quality natural ingredients. Start with some of your favorite woods and spices and experiment with new substances as you become more comfortable and intrigued with the process. Try to always use at least one resin or wood in your mixture as a base. Visit local herb shops, incense stores, nurseries, etc. to uncover hidden aromatic treasures. Here is a partial list of popular incense ingredients from around the world. Wine, honey, dried fruits and fragrant hydrosols are often used as well. Recipes and suggestions are listed later in this article. All ingredients should be stored in a dark, cool space.
Mixing Ingredients - Making Loose Incense
If you are not starting with powdered ingredients then of course you must pulverize them using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Electric coffee grinders produce too much heat, allowing for the loss of vital chemicals from the ingredients and therefore shouldn't be used. Also, most resins will break the blades of electric coffee grinders.
If you freeze your resins for a short while (1/4 hour or so), they will be much easier to pulverize. Resins usually can only be ground or powdered using a mortar and pestle. Woods are very difficult to pulverize with a mortar and pestle and really require the use of a hand crank coffee grinder of some sort or simply beginning with powdered woods.
If you are just starting out making incense mixtures then you should keep the number of ingredients down to three (3) to begin with, perhaps one wood and two herbs, or one resin, one wood and one herb, etc. As you get used to making incense you can slowly expand the number of ingredients you use.
So the first step is to choose the recipe you will use and gather the ingredients needed.
Pulverize your ingredients by "class" by grinding woods first, then herbs and saving the resins for last. Resins, if young and soft, will make a mess of your mortar and pestle and its best to keep freezing them to get them powdered. Save them for grinding last, which allows you to grind everything in your recipe before you have to clean the mortar and pestle. Weigh each ingredient in your recipe after grinding, then keep one bowl for all the dry ingredients and another for all the resins.
Mix all your dry ingredients together first (herbs & woods), separately mix all your resins together then add your resins mixture to your dry mixture and mix together thoroughly. Throw the completed mixture into the mortar and pestle again and grind it all together one last time to help blend the aroma of each ingredient into the others.
Another suggestion for "ready-made" loose incense is Silverstone's own Moondance Ritual Incense - already blended from resins, woods, herbs and spices. See Silverstone's web site for the vast variety of blends.A few drops of essential oils could also bring a new dimension into your incense making.
Congratulations! You now have a "loose non-combustible incense mixture" and are ready to enjoy the aromatic treasure you've just created. Age the mixtures for a couple of weeks so that all the aromatics permeate into each other and produce a single bouquet of fragrances. You can heat this mixture over charcoal or on top of makko.
If you are making "incense pellets" or "incense cones or sticks" then you still have a little work to do.
Making Incense Pellets
It's quite simple to make pellets from any loose incense mixture. They add a richer fragrance to any mixture and more dimension to your incense making.
There are many choices as to what you'll use to bind your pellets. Many resins come in a pliable form permitting the "molding" of pellets. Labdanum is often used in recipes of Japan to form pellets, some called neriko, a recipe used in the autumn and winter seasons as well as for tea ceremony. Simply combine all other ingredients first, then add them to the labdanum, or other pliable resin, and knead well. Dry these pellets in a ceramic jar with a lid for 2 - 3 weeks.
Using about 1/2 - 3/4 of a cup of dried fruit for every 1 cup of loose incense mixture works well. Soak the dried fruit overnight in a heavy red wine before using. Once soaked overnight and drained, add the fruit to loose incense and use a food processor to blend this entire mixture together. If you do not wish to use a processor, then mix a small amount of fruit with a small amount of your mixture and mash it together with a mortar and pestle and continue this process until all of your mixture has pulverized fruit in it.
Transfer the entire mixture to a mixing bowl and drizzle in about one teaspoon of pure honey for every 3/4 cup of dried fruit, knead this together very well. At this point you can either crumble the mixture with your hands and spread it out on a cotton cloth, cardboard, wooden board, wax paper, etc. and store it indoors, out of the sunlight, allowing it to dry. You can also form pea-sized balls with your hands and then spread them out to dry. Drying time can take 2-4 weeks depending on climate.
The mixture should be turned daily for proper drying. Alternatively, you may also place your pellets in a ceramic jar with a lid and allow them to age for up to a year. In Japan, the ceramic jar is sometimes buried in the ground for up to a year. This type of mixture can be burned on charcoal, or directly on makko.
Making Incense Cones and Sticks
Pulverizing your ingredients into a very, very fine powder is one of the keys to making cones or sticks that will burn properly. Follow the directions above for mixing ingredients as loose incense but grind everything to an ultra fine powder.
There are many ways to make cones and sticks, some people use gum arabic (see SilverstoneÕs web site) or tragacanth to bind their sticks or cones. You can mix this with charcoal or saltpeter to gain combustion though Silverstone prefers not to carry saltpeter due to its toxicity.
There are a myriad of other ways to form sticks and cones. A preferred method is to use makko (also known as tabu) to form incense cones and sticks. Makko is made from the bark of the tabu-no-ki tree, which grows in Asia and is a natural combustible material that is also water soluble. When added to loose incense mixtures with a small amount of distilled water or hydrosol, makko allows for the forming of incense cones or sticks. Because it is water soluble, the exact amount of makko to add to a mixture depends on the humidity of your environment and the amount of resins and woods in your mixture.
First allow your "loose incense mixture" to sit overnight to let the ingredients "blend" together. Once aged a day or more you are then ready to add your makko and form the incense into whatever shapes you desire. Test a small amount of your mixture first. You'll need a mixing bowl, your hands and either distilled water or a fragrant hydrosol and some wax paper. If you have a mixture with no resins in it, then you will most likely need to add only between 10 - 25% of makko to your mixture. (i.e. If you use 4 tablespoons of loose mixture, try adding 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of makko). If you have resins in your mixture then you may need 25 - 80% makko in your mixture. Record in a notebook the exact measurements of your recipes so you can recreate the ones that come out perfectly and adjust those that don't.
Very slowly... add a little water and mix with your hands, you want the mixture to become gummy and pliable yet still hold form as you mold it. Using your hands, knead the mixture very, very well then form it into cones or sticks. Cones are relatively easy to form. To make sticks, use a piece of wax paper on a flat surface and roll the mixture into sticks with your hands. You may also wish to obtain blank bamboo sticks that have absolutely no additives and roll your mixture onto the sticks. Allow your cones or sticks to dry at least a couple of weeks - again this depends on climate. You want to keep them away from sunlight and heat during this time. Sticks will dry faster than cones. Cones you can tell are dry by turning them upside down and looking to see if there is any color difference in the center of the bottom compared to the outer edges. Once dry, light one of your creations and see how it burns and smells. If it doesn't burn steadily, then you need to increase the amount of makko to the mixture. If you think it burns too fast, then decrease the makko content. A great thing about this method is you can grind up any cones or sticks that didn't come out right and adjust the makko content by adding more makko or more loose incense mixture to them, add a little water and begin again.
Here's a list of recipes to get you started, have fun experimenting and enjoying new mixtures.
DISCLAIMER: The above is for information purposes only and has been collected from various web sites and books. No responsibility or liability shall be taken by Mona Magick in the case of mishap. Suggested recipes are a guide only.
Last updated: December 31, 1969
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Anti Slander Spell
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Perfect Mate Incense
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About Crystal Scrying
Make a Slave
Break Bad Luck
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The Hand of Glory
Dreams Defined H-I
To Grow Hair
If you're moving into a new home
General Omens & Superstitions
Attract Customers to a Business
Introduction to Using Numerology
Smartweed Money Spell
Rid of Buillies
Make Love Secure
Use Astrology To Put Your Power Team together
Old Fashioned Magick Soap
Spell & Ritual Tips
About Water Scyring
Build Your Talent
About Oil Scrying
Reading a Woman 2 of 4
New Years Good & Bad Luck
Couples Candle to Conceive
Make Your Lover Leave You
Why Some Spells Work... and Some Don't
Luck in Business
Sorcerer's Stone: Chapter XIII: of the Transmutation
About John Dee's method
On Christmas Day
Moon Voids of Course
Sorcerer's Stone: Chapter VI: Dissolution & Extration
Magic Mirror (Invisable Cloak)
Money Knot Spell
Working with Candles
About Mercury Retrograde
Native American Spirit Guides
About the Tarot
Common Bad luck Notes
Magickal Uses of the Psalms
Dreams Defined V-Z
African Deities A-G
Harry Potter Spell Glossary
Dr. John Dee
Dreams Defined R-U
Dreams Defined A-G
Animals Good & Bad
Dreams Defined J-L
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