Create Your Own Incense
- Why Create Your Own Incense
- For my efforts, I prefer knowing where my tools came from
and how they were handled. To me it's a practice of respect for
the natural world around us. The process is also a method to
practice my beliefs in something like a moving meditation which
allows me to empower the mixture as it's mixed and formed. Here
we will briefly cover the ways to collect, store and create incense
for spiritual work. This doesn't mean that purchased tools are
bad, or can't be used. There are many items that cannot be cultivated
in all areas and the only way to acquire them is through commercial
- I believe creating energy for a ritual, meditation or service
starts with the tools an individual selects to use. If you believe
that energy is inherent in all things, then how a thing is created
or manufactured starts the process of embedding energy into an
object or tool. Using tools made from nature is a good place
to start. Which suggests staying away from chemically manufactured
tools such as plastics and various metal alloys.
- One can think of this approach in this manner. Would you
rather start your meditation with an incense stick that was picked
by a large gas polluting machine, tossed in a metal bin, run
along a rubber conveyer, quick dried by chemicals, crushed and
pushed into a mold and tossed into a package to be dropped at
your local store?
- Or would you rather give thanks to the Divine Spirit in your
life as you harvest your materials. Taking care to properly dry
your collection. Selecting the best items to prepare your incense
or smudge stick. And empowering your ingredients as you prepare
them and fashion them into proper tool for your workings?
- Harvesting Your Ingredients
- There are various rules of thumb for harvesting materials
to create incense. Ellen Evert Hopman provides an excellent guideline
in her book "A Druid's Herbal". Such as picking tree
leaves before midsummer to avoid the high concentration of natures
own insecticide in the trees. Picking leaves and flower pedals
on a dry day. For flowers the pedals should be taken just as
the bloom begins to open. Small amounts of root are gathered
in the early spring when they can do little damage to a plant
that has started to show signs of coming out of it's winter sleep.
Or in late fall, just as the plant is about to enter it's sleep
for the cold snowy months. And tree bark is harvested in small
amounts during the summer and late fall, so as not to cause infestation
and disease to the tree. The medicinal component of the bark
is held in the soft cambium layer between the sap and the dead
hard outer shell. My Cherokee teachers always taught me that
herbs, such as sage, must be gathered in late afternoon when
they have dried under the Sun from the evening mist or dew.
- But everyone seems to agree that drying one's harvest of
herbs and plants is the second key step. To ensure bacterial
does not develop on your stash, they should be laid out on a
cotton cloth, old newspaper or a crossed wooden table that will
allow air to pass through the plants and leaves. And of course
this area should be kept in a dry place.
- Mixing Your Ingredients
- Choosing the mixtures to use is up to the individual. What
smells great to one person may not be appealing to someone else.
Knowing which plants hold what properties is a good place to
start. You can refer to Incense Symbology
for help. Consider what type of energy needs to be created and
select plants to support that energy. Smell each one in it's
raw form to ensure it will compliment any other plants chosen
to use in the mixture.
- Once the ingredients have been selected, they can either
twist them into a smudge stick, or ground into a fine powder.
I've had many teachers suggest using a marble, wood or rock mortal
and pestle to crush the dried ingredients into a fine powder
for fashioning incense. Many ancient and even some modern cultures
recite a chant over the combination of herbs being mixed. The
chant is both a thanks to the Divine for providing these gifts
and a method to empower the ingredients for the purpose they
are to be used for.
- There are many types of sticks to use as a base for an incense
stick. But the most common base is to use bamboo slivers. I suggest
to my students to drive around their neighborhood and find someone
who has bamboo growing in the yard. You're bound to find it.
Knock on the door and ask your neighbor if you can take a stake
or two that have fallen. These must be dried just like the other
components of incense. But once dried they can be easily cut
into small thin sticks.
- Additionally there are many resins that can be used to glue
the incense powder to the bamboo sticks. Myrrh Resin is one of
the most common base ingredients to glue the powder to a stick.
The stick is coated with the resin, and then rolled into the
chosen powder mix.
- Or you can mix the resin and powder together and fashion
it into a small mold to create a solid incense piece. In either
case, the newly molded incense is set aside and allowed to dry
for at least 24 hours before use.
- Tools: Incense
- - A History Of Incense
- - Creating Your Own Incense
- - Incense Symbology
- Source: 1, h1,
- Created: 05.14.2008 Updated: 05.14.2008