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Class on Incense making and burning.

How to Make Incense How to Use Incense in Magick Spell Work Types of Incense Combistible and Nonconbustible Incense
Altar Incense Magic Aphrodisiac Incense/Oil Aphrodite Incense Banishing Incense Recipe
Binding Incense Ceremonial Magic Incense Circle Incense Clearing Incense
Compounded Incense Consecration Incense Magic Full Moon Incense Earth Incense (Elemental)
Esbat Incense For Emergencies ONLY Incense Recipe Greek God and Goddess Incense Hecate Incense
Horned God Incense Magic Kitchen Whitchen Meditation Incense Midsummer Incense
Lock Incense Love Incense Double Fast Luck Incense Powder Magic Incense
Magic Kyphi Incense Prosperity Incense Spring Sabbat Incense Spring Sabbat Incense
Queer Spirit Incense Witch's Sight Incense Simple Full Moon Incense 4 Moon Fire Incense Recipes
Full Moon Ritual Incense Recipe Turning Powders Into Self Burning Incense House Purification Incense Divination Incence
Incense Paper History 41">Incense Magic 42">The Making of Incense
How to Make Incense You Will Need: Gum tragacanth (or use gum Arabic as a substitute) is made into a glue, and acts as a binding agent. It is the key ingredient in all molded incense. To make the glue, place a teaspoon of the ground gum in a glass of warm water and mix completely until dispersed. A foam may rise, but it can be easily redistributed, or skimmed off if it gets in your way. (The gum is unbelievably absorbent! A mere ounce will absorb up to one full gallon of water in a single week!) Allow your gum mixture to absorb the glass of water until it thickens to a paste. Now you will need to create your incense base. An incense base is made up of talcum powder, sawdust, ground spice, dried herbs and flowers, or any combination thereof. Once you have defined your base, an essential oil may be added for additional scent, the potassium nitrate is blended in, and finally, the gum-glue. Here's a sample mixture for cone incense: You Will Need: 6 parts powdered sandalwood or cedar 2 parts benzoin 1 part orris root 3-5 parts ground herb mixture of choice 6 drops essential herbal oil of choice Procedure: Mix the first four ingredients until well blended. Add the essential oil (or combination of oils) and mix with your hands until you have a fine, crumbly mixture. Add the dried herb mixture and mix again. Now add 10% potassium nitrate (KNO3). In other words, use a ratio of 10:1. If you've made 10 oz. of incense base, then add 1 oz. of KNO3. Next comes the addition of the glue mixture. Add one teaspoon at a time, mixing with your hands as you go. Add only enough of the glue to achieve the consistency of model clay or play dough from the entire mixture. On a piece of waxed paper, shape the mixture into small cone shapes (just like the store bought ones you're already familiar with) and allow them to dry for a week in a cool, dry place. The area you choose to dry the incense cones in must be free of moisture in order to dry thoroughly. By following the sample recipe given, you can also make stick incense. Although, this requires much more patience and tenacity than making any other form. Plan to spend the better part of a day in making these. How to Use Incense in Magick Spell Work In hoodoo terminology, performing a ritual or spell is often called "doing a job." The simplest jobs may involve anointing oneself or dressing an amulet, a candle, or mojo bags and its contents with a "condition" oil. More complex jobs take on the characteristics of elaborate magical rituals, involving all of the above elements, plus the burning of incense. The practice of burning incense to accompany invocations or prayers is particularly favoured by Christian root workers who follow the Kabbalist-inspired practice of reciting certain Psalms for magical effect. In addition, if a job of work involves a person far away, incense may be burned to "carry" the wish or deire to him or her. On a more practical level, many people like to "smoke" their charms and mojo bags in incense after dressing them with oil. Also, in a pinch, loose powdered incense can be sprinkled on the ground after the manner of sachet powders. Types of Incense Incense comes in many forms. Some are more popular in one culture than another, but all are old, authentic, and traditional in various branches of magic. The most popular forms are Natural Resins, Wood Chips, and Herbs. Compounded Incenses Natural incenses are generally one-tone scents, quite vivid and distinct in fragrance. Compounds, on the other hand usually are made with a relatively scentless or pleasantly aromatic base to which has been added symbolically significant blend pf scents selected from among the natural resins, natural essential oils, and, in some cases, artifical fragrance oils. Natural Resin, Wood and Herb Incense The oldest and most original incenses used by mankind have been tree resins and herbs or woods that burn with a fragrant smoke. Typical herbal incenses include Sage and Tobacco, much favoured by North American Indians and those who follow their traditions. Sage is typically utilized in the form of wrapped and tied smudge sticks, while Tobacco is burned in a ceremonial pipe. The best-known wood chip incense is the rare and expensive Sandalwood, which is made of finely shaved chips of the tree of the same name. Resin incenses, which are granular lumps of dried tree sap, include the Biblical Frankincense and Myrrh as well as Benzoin and Copal, the latter a holy incense of the Mayan Indians of Central America. Resins are often burned in mixtures, the light scent of golden Frankincense combining beautifully with richly musky Myrrh and sharply aromatic Benzoin. Another favourite mixture is cleansing Camphor and purifying Pine Resin Combistible and Nonconbustible Incense You Will Need: a charcoal block Procedure: 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. 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! Now, on to some recommended blends, the first of which is an ancient blend indeed. Altar Incense ~ Scott Cunningham You Will Need: 3 parts frankincense 2 parts myrrh 1 part cinnamon Procedure: Suggested as a general all purpose incense to purify the area around and including your altar. Magic Aphrodisiac Incense/Oil This is great to burn in the bedroom if you're looking for passion and wild sex. You Will Need: patchouli pine needles sandalwood. Aphrodite Incense You Will Need: 1 part cinnamon 1 part cedar a few drops cedar oil Burn during rituals to attract love. Banishing Incense Recipe You Will Need: bay leaves cinnamon red wine rose petals myrrh salt Procedure: Should be burned in a ceremonial room during services. Also used in uncrossing (removes evil forces and hexes). Curse Breaker Incense Recipe Timing: Waning moon You Will Need: 2 parts sandalwood 1 part bay Procedure: Burn at night near an open window if you feel "cursed". Though curses are rare, if we believe we are cursed, we are! Smolder this incense and visualize it banishing all negativity from you. Repeat this ritual for 7 nights during the Waning Moon, if possible or desirable. Binding Incense You Will Need: 4 parts nettle 4 parts thistle 4 parts knotgrass 1/4 part nightshade** 1/4 part wolfsbane (aconite)** **Burn with caution, taking care not to directly inhale the smoke. Its best to burn this incense outdoors for destroying baneful habits and thoughts. Ceremonial Magic Incense You Will Need: 3 parts frankincense 2 parts gum mastic 1 part wood aloe Procedure: Can be used in general magickal workings to raise power and to purify the area. Circle Incense You Will Need: 4 parts frankincense 2 parts myrrh 2 parts benzoin 1 part sandalwood 1/2 part cinnamon 1/2 part rose petals 1/4 part vervain 1/4 part rosemary 1/4 part bay Procedure: Use for general workings in the Circle, the ritual working space of Wiccans and Magickans, and as a general ritual incense. Clearing Incense You Will Need: 3 parts frankincense 3 parts copal 2 parts myrrh 1 part sandalwood Procedure: Burn this incense to clear your home of negative vibrations, especially when household members are arguing or when the house seems heavy and thick with anger, jealousy, depression, fear, etc. Leave the windows open while burning this incense. Compounded Incense Compounded incenses are those in which fragrances, usually the essential oils of herbs and flowers, are blended into a base of very finely shaved wood. Hoodoo incense makers use the same herbal and floral essenses that go into their condition oils, and they often add colouring as well, usually according to the same sort of colour-symbolism by which offertory candles are coloured. A small amount of saltpeter is then added to improve ease of lighting and even burning. Once an incense has been compounded, it can be sold in a number of forms, including: Stick, Often Rolled Onto Thin Slivers Of Wood (Aragbatti, Agarbathi, Joss Stick) Cones Or Logs (Dhoop) Long Thin Coils Self-Lighting Powders Agarbatti Incense Sticks, Dhoop Incense Cones and Coil Incense The Indian name for incense sticks that have been hand-rolled onto slivers of bamboo is agarbatti, sometimes spelled agarbathi. When the incense is formed into cones or logs, it is called dhoop. In Vietnam and China, similar incense compounds are formed into long coils which are suspended from a hanger and will burn for many hours. These sticks, logs, cones, and coils are traditional and well loved in most of Asia. There are many famous old brands and recipes for their manufacture. Over the years they have also become popular in America and can be found in some stores catering to the occult trade. Following the symbolism of the herbs and florers used to scent them, they have many uses in magic. Those made with Rose fragrance tend to be used for love spells, those scented with Jasmine for psychic and spiritual work, and those that bear a Musk aroma are favoured in rites of sex magic or sacred sexuality. Consecration Incense You Will Need: 2 parts wood aloe 1 part mace 1 part storax or gum arabic 1 part benzoin Procedure: Burn when purifying or consecrating ritual tools, jewelry, quartz crystals, and stones. Smolder this incense and pass the object through its smoke several times visualizing the fumes purifying the object. Magic Full Moon Incense Timing: Within the three days prior to the actual full moon, but not after! You Will Need: 1 ounce (about 30 grams) of the finest sandalwood powder you can find (santalum album) 5 grams (a marble sized nugget) of amber resin, NOT the stone! The soft, sweet smelling resin that is often imported from India, available at health food stores, and of course herb and Witch shops. 3 drops of vanilla essential oil. NOT the perfume or fragrance oil, only true vanilla from the orchid (Vanilla planifolia or Vanilla aromatica) If this is cost prohibitive or unavailable, use real vanilla extract Procedure: Gather the ingredients required, along with a pestle and mortar to blend them in. If desired, you can use your cauldron, and some sort of crushing or mixing tool. Fill the mortar or cauldron with the sandalwood powder. Crush the amber into it with the pestle or tool of your choice. Use clockwise or deosil blending motions. Focus on the energy of the full moon, or if you are making the incense for a specific spell. Focus on the goal of that spell alone. You can incorporate your favorite words of power or chant while doing this. When the powder is smooth and consistent, add the vanilla, one drop at a time while saying your chosen words of power, (which is best) or the following (which will suffice in most cases) Say: Drop of moon, grant my boon. Blend in the drops in the same way you blended in the amber resin. Place the mixture in a clear glass jar with an airtight lid. Keep it away from heat, sunlight, and moisture. Charge it under the light of the full moon on the three days prior to it becoming actually full. The full moon light penetration is the reason for not storing this in an opaque jar. It is ready for use immediately, but can be charged more if desired. Earth Incense (Elemental) You Will Need: 2 parts pine resin (pitch) or needles 1 part patchouli 1 pinch finely powdered salt few drops cypress oil Procedure: Burn for invoking the powers of the element of Earth for money, stability and so on. Esbat Incense You Will Need: 4 parts frankincense 3 parts myrrh 2 parts benzoin 1 part sandalwood 1 part gardenia petals 1/2 part orris 1/2 part thyme 1/2 part poppy seed 1/2 part rose petals Burn during any rituals and spells on the Full Moon. For Emergencies ONLY Incense Recipe Inspired by Jim Alan's song "Talkin' Wicca Blues" Procedure: Burn to be rid of foul demons, wrathful spirits, tax collectors, drunks and other noisome creatures. Stand back and hold your nose or better still, leave the room while this incense is smoldering. Those herbs marked * aren't necessarily dangerous or baneful, but they emit a powerful smoke that is irritating to the eyes, nose and lungs. You Will Need: 3 parts frankincense 2 parts dragon's blood 2 parts myrrh 1 part rosemary 1 part asafoetida 1 part cayenne 1 part grains of paradise 1 part rue 1 part garlic Greek God and Goddess Incense You Will Need: 4 parts frankincense (Apollo) 2 parts myrrh (Demeter) 1 part pine (Poseidon) 1 part rose petals (Aphrodite) 1 part sage (Zeus) 1 part white willow bark (Persephone) few drops olive oil (Athena) few drops cypress (Artemis/Hecate) Procedure: Burn to honor them. Hecate Incense You Will Need: 3 parts sandalwood 2 parts cypress 1 part spearmint or peppermint To honor Her, burn at crossroads or during ritual at the waning of the Moon. Horned God Incense You Will Need: 2 parts benzoin 1 part cedar 1 part pine 1 part juniper berries few drops patchouli oil Procedure: Burn to honor Him in his many guises, especially during Wiccan rituals. Magic Kitchen Whitchen House Blessing Incense You Will Need: 2 tablespoons dry lemon peel 1 tablespoon rosemary 1 tablespoon almond extract 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 pinch. garlic skins 1 teaspoon anise seed 1 teaspoon allspice 1 teaspoon coconut extract 1 pinch salt Meditation Incense You Will Need: 1 part gum acacia (or gum arabic) 1 part sandalwood Midsummer Incense You Will Need: 2 parts sandalwood 1 part mugwort 1 part chamomile 1 part gardenia petals few drops lavender oil few drops rose oil few drops yarrow oil Lock Incense Purpose: eep away intruders You Will Need: 3 part frankincense 2 part juniper berries 1/2 part cumin 1 part vetivert Procedure: To guard from thieves: during the day smolder this mixture in a sensor before the front door, then move it to each opening in the house ( doors, windows, cellars, etc.) through which thieves may enter. Visualize this smoke forming invisible but impenetrable barriers. Move in a clockwise circle throughout your home, replenishing the incense as necessary. Repeat monthly at the time of the Full Moon, if possible, or use as needed. Love Incense Purpose: To attract,strengthen & expand your ability to give & receive love. You Will Need: 2 parts sandalwood 1/2 part basil 1/2 part bergamot a few drops rose oil a few drops lavender oil Double Fast Luck Incense Powder You Will Need: green talc (do not put talc in floor wash) patchouli (money) rose (luck) juniper berries (anti-theft) ground-up dollar bill. Procedure: Sprinkle at your business, on the doorway into your home, around any home business furniture, or in your wallet, purse or pocket to increase luck and success. Load into candles or put in conjuring bags for money magick. To make a powder, you will need a mortar and pestle to start, and at least three to five different ingredients of equal proportions. As with oils, the more ingredients, the stronger the powder. Powders usually smell good; to retain that nice fragrance, add Orris Root Powder. Magic Incense 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! Now, on to some recommended blends, the first of which is an ancient blend indeed. Magic Kyphi Incense You Will Need: cup raisins white wine tea towel or cheesecloth calamus, gum mastic peppermint bay laurel orris cinnamon galangal 1 tbls. powdered myrrh 1 tbls. clove honey juniper acacia henna sweet sedge root 1 bowl Procedure: Place 1/4 cup raisins in a bowl. Add just enough white wine to cover the raisins. Cover loosely with a tea towel or cheesecloth, and allow to steep for seven days. On the third day, blend equal parts of the following powdered herbs in a bit of white wine: Juniper, Acacia, Henna, Sweet Sedge Root. After two days drain and reserve any liquid. On the last day, drain the raisin mixture, reserving the liquid. In a small bowl mix together equal parts of the following ground herbs: Calamus, Gum Mastic, Peppermint, Bay Laurel, Orris, Cinnamon, and Galangal. Set aside. In another small bow blend together 1 tbls. powdered myrrh, and 1 tbls. clove honey. To this mixture add the ground herbs, and the raisins and herbs steeped in wine. Blend well. Add a little of the reserved wine if the mixture becomes too dry. Follow the directions for making cone or block incense. Prosperity Incense You Will Need: 2 parts frankincense 1 part cinnamon 1 part nutmeg 1 part lemon balm 1 part citron Procedure: Burn to attract wealth. Spring Sabbat Incense Timing: Burn during spring and summer Sabbat rituals. You Will Need: 3 parts Frankincense 2 parts Sandalwood 1 part Benzoin 1 part Cinnamon a few drops Patchouli oil Queer Spirit Incense You Will Need: Peel of 2 lemons, finely chopped and dried 1/4 handful green cardamom pods 1/8 handful powdered ginger 3 cinnamon sticks chunk of dragon's blood resin Procedure: Grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle and charge the incense. I use this to honor my Queer Spirit. Witch's Sight Incense You Will Need: 1 part gum mastic 1 part patchouli 1 part cinnamon 1 part juniper 1 part sandalwood a few drops clove oil a few drops nutmeg oil Procedure: An All Purpose formula for any divinatory method. Simple Full Moon Incense You Will Need: 3 parts frankincense 1 part sandalwood Procedure: Burn during Full Moon rituals or simply to attune with the Lunar powers. 4 Moon Fire Incense Recipes Moon Incense 1 You Will Need: 2 parts frankincense 1 part sandalwood few drops eucalyptus oil few drops jasmine oil few drops camphor oil Procedure: Burn to attract its influences, and also during psychic workings, love magick, healing, rituals involving the home and dream magick. Moon Incense 2 You Will Need: 4 parts sandalwood 2 parts wood aloe 1 part eucalyptus 1 part pul. cucumber seeds 1 part mugwort 1/2 part ranuculus blossoms 1 part selenetrope few drops ambergris oil may substitute gardenia or jasmine for selenetrope. Moon Incense 3 You Will Need: 2 parts juniper berries 1 part orris 1 part calamus few drops spirits of camphor-or- camphor tincture or 1/4 part genuine camphor few drops lotus bouquet Moon Incense 4 You Will Need: 2 parts myrrh 2 parts gardenia petals 1 part rose petals 1 part lemon peel 1/2 part camohor few drops jasmine oil Full Moon Ritual Incense Recipe You Will Need: 2 parts sandalwood 2 parts frankincense 1/2 part gardenia petals 1/4 part rose petals a few drops ambergris oil Procedure: Burn during Esbats or simply at the time of the Full Moon to attune with the Goddess. Turning Powders Into Self Burning Incense **CAUTION** these methods should only be attempted by a knowledgable user. The Inner Sanctum is not responsible for injury resulting in these methods. Procedure: Mix and empower herbs. Mix and grind them into a powder, if you have not already done this. Place powder in a non-flammable container and soak with charcoal starter fluid. After about an hour, place in a SAFE place and light. Let it burn until some of the herbs on top start blackening. Immediately put out the fire by smothering it with something non-flammable. DO NOT use water, sand, fire retardants or ANYTHING that will mix with, disturb or even touch the herbs, use only smothering. Once the container cools, remove the herbs and spread them out in a flat sheet on a piece (or several pieces) of paper. Cover with paper and set heavy books on them and let it compress for a day or more (the paper may get saturated with lighter fluid, so dispose of them properly). Remove the weight and pour you new powdered incense into whatever container you use. You are done. Once you have you powder, you may melt some of the appropriate resin and mix it with the powder, then roll it into a cone, stick, or whatever shape you choose. This incense will now work similar to a stick or cone, light it and wait until the flame dies. It will now smolder until it is used. Don't use too much at a time, a little goes a long way. House Purification Incense Purpose: For once-a-month house cleansing; or burn in new home before moving in. You Will Need: 3 parts frankincense 2 parts dragon's blood 1 part myrrh 1 part sandalwood 1 part wood betony 1/2 part dill seed Divination Incence You Will Need: 2 parts sandalwood 1 part orange peel 1 part mace 1 part cinnamon procedure: Smolder during or directly before using Tarot cards, Magic Mirrors, Quartz Crystal Spheres, Rune Stones, and so on. How to Make Incense Paper The 'other kind' of incense. You Will Need: 1 white blotter paper Procedure: Cut into six inch strips about an inch wide 1 1/2 teaspoon potassium nitrate (you can buy potassium nitrate over the counter at most drug stores) added to one half cup warm water. Stir until completely dissolved. soak the paper strips in the solution until thoroughly Wet, then hang them up to dry. You now have paper versions of charcoal blocks used the burn incense! NOW when making incense papers - your goal is to overcome the smell of the burning paper - so Heavy fragrances should be used. To Scent Your Incense Paper Choose a scent for your magical need and add a few drops at a time to the paper and smear over one side of the paper - then hang to dry . When completely dry - store in an airtight container until ready to use :) (if it is not completely dry - you will have a moldy mushy Mess when you open your container) Use only tinctures to scent the papers - essential and base oils just don't do it very well Making tinctures to scent your incense papers with...a tincture is the process of soaking dried plant materials in alcohol which captures the scent. NOTE: Do Not Use Rubbing Alchol. Use only ethyl alcohol or "Everclear" needs to be a minimum of 140 proof (70%) For further information on this subject see Scott Cummingham's book The Complete Book of Incense, Oils Incense Paper Lighting the Incense Paper Simply light one end of your dried paper and let it catch fire incense papers should burn slowly. When it has a good flame going - quickly blow it out and put it in your censer and let it smolder. Great Idea: Just sprinkle a little incense on your smoldering paper and let it burn as well. Incense Paper History In the past, Chinese families owned ancestral tablets with the ancestors' names inscribed on them. Such tablets are placed on ancestral altars and urns meant for placing joss sticks, and food offerings are usually placed in front of it. Ancestral tablets found in Chinese homes only state the names of patrilineal ancestors and their wives. With the advent of modernism, and perchance owing to the decline of traditional Chinese values reinforced through Taoism, filial piety and thus such practices have almost vanished. At most only Taoist or Buddhist altars are found in Chinese homes. Families may choose to have their ancestors cremated or buried in columbariums and cemeteries respectively. Families would visit their ancestor's resting place, especially during the Qing ming Festival. They would bring joss sticks, incense paper and food offerings to the ancestors. According to Chinese custom and tradition, people worshiping ancestors at Chinese cemeteries or columbariums must first lay out their offerings and prayer items before burning the joss stick. The worshippers may then recite prayers before proceeding to place their joss sticks on designated areas. The worshipers then burn the incense paper and collect the food after worship. Incense paper used for ancestor worship comes in several forms; each represents a present for the ancestor's spirit. Paper colored yellow with a gold foil printed on it represents a gold tael; that with a silver foil represents a silver tael. Another variant is single-colored paper which is manufactured with a rougher surface on one side and a smoother surface on the other side. Such paper come in varying colors. Incense paper of this type is to be rolled up and snugged tightly at both ends. The smoother face should form the exterior surface. Incense paper of this variant is used to represent clothes for the ancestor. Paper with a soft and rough surface printed in brown recycled paper serves as cloth. Bank notes of various sizes as well as Kai chin are used to represent money. All of this incense paper is arranged and collected into a bundle known as Yi bou in accordance to significance. The brown incense paper serves as the base. Usually, the base must have an even number of "cloth" papers, and one sheet will serve as the nucleus of the base. They are followed on by the bank notes, Kai chin, clothes and taels, and the Yim bou is gathered up, and burnt with a candle Yi bou before throwing it into the urn. Joss papers manufactured into the shape of shirts and trousers are sometimes burnt together with the Yi bou. Incense Papers Incense papers are a delightful variation of combustible incense. Here, rather than using charcoal and gum tragacanth, tinctures and paper are the basic ingredients. To make incense papers, take a piece of white blotter paper and cut it into six-inch strips about an inch wide. Next, add 1 1/2 teaspoons potassium nitrate to 1/2 cup very warm water. Stir until potassium nitrate is completely dissolved. Soak the paper strips in the nitrate solution until thoroughly saturated. Hang them to dry. You now have the paper versions of the charcoal blocks used to burn incense. The obstacle in scenting them is to overcome the normal smell of burning of burning paper. For this reason, heavy fragrances should be used, such as tinctures. Tinctures compounded from gums and resins seem to produce the best results. Empower the tincture(s) with you Magickal need, then pour a few drops of the tincture onto one strip of paper. Smear this over the paper and add more drops until it is completely coated on one side. Hang the strip up to dry and store in labeled, airtight container until needed. To speed drying, turn o the oven to a low temperature, leave the door open, and place the soaked incense papers on the rack. Remove them when dry. Generally speaking, incense papers should be made with one tincture rather than mixtures. To use incense papers, simply remove one paper and hold it above your censer. Light one tip with a match, and after it is completely involved in flame, quickly blow it out. Place the glowing paper in your censer and let it smolder, visualizing or working your Magickal ritual. Incense papers should burn slowly and emit a pleasant scent. Plain unscented papers can be used in place of charcoal blocks. For this purpose soak the papers in the potassium nitrate solution and let dry, then set one alight in the censer. Sprinkle a thin layer of the incense over the paper. As it burns the paper will also smolder your incense. You may have difficulty in keeping incense paper lit. The secret here is to allow air to circulate below the papers. You can ensure this by either placing the paper on some heat-proof object in the censer, or by filling the censer with salt or sand and thrusting one end of the paper into this, much as you might with incense sticks. The paper should burn all the way to its end. Incense Magic When incense is burned prior to magical workings, fragrant smoke also purifies the altar and the surrounding area of negative, disturbing vibrations. Though such a purification isn't usually necessary, it, once again, helps create the appropriate mental state necessary for the successful practice of Magic. When the incense is smoldered in a ritual setting it undergoes a transformation. The vibrations, no longer trapped in their physical form, are released into the environment. Their energies, mixing with those who use them, speed out to effect the changes necessary to the manifestation of the Magickal goal. You needn't limit incense use to ritual, but avoid burning healing incense just for the smell, or to freshen up your stale house. Burning magickally constructed and empowered incenses when they're not needed is a waste of energy. If you wish to burn a pleasant-smelling incense, compound a household mixture for this purpose. The Making of Incense You Will Need: Incenses are composed of a variety of leaves, flowers, roots, barks, woods, resins, gums and oils. Semiprecious stones may also be added to incenses to lend their energies to the mixture. Out of the literally hundreds of potential incense ingredients, perhaps 14 are most frequently used. Keep a stock of these herbs on hand if you plan to make several incense. These might include: Frankincense, Myrrh, Benzoin, Copal, Rose petals, Bay, Cinnamon Pine needles or resin(pitch) Juniper Sandalwood Cedar Thyme Basil Rosemary Be aware that many plants (if not all) smell quite different when being smoldered. Sweet scents turn sour fast! Remember to harm none!!!! Click for the Site Index