Burning incense during religious rituals is common in many faiths. For example, Catholics burn frankincense during Christmas sacraments. Buddhists regularly use incense during their rituals as well. Ritually using incense has become an integral part of my magical rituals, morning routine, and I also use it during my tarot readings.
Why should you use incense?
It adds another layer of correspondence, like using crystals, colors, candles, herbs, and moon phases. These little layers add up and make your spells more powerful. And the incense smoke carries your intentions up to the aether. You can also use it as an offering to the deities you work with. This is a minor point, but it just seems really “witchy,” if that makes any sense. It sets the mood for my spells and gets me in the right mindset. Plus, I find the scent soothing and therapeutic.
Types of Incense
You can use stick incense, rope, cones, or resins and herbs that are burned on charcoal tablets. I like them all, but I prefer burning resins and herbs. However, you will have to try different types of incense out and decide what you like best.
Incense Magical Correspondence
So, there are several types of incense you can use for different purposes. Frankincense and myrrh is amazing for healing work and they also bring a sense of emotional well-being. Patchouli works very well for money magic. While Dragonsblood is both protective and powerful. And it smells incredible, too. White sage, lemongrass, and rosemary incense are purifying and cleansing. You can use lavender or rose incense for love spells or if you would like to foster a calm environment. There are so many possibilities! A good rule of thumb is, the magical properties you would find in the herb or plant itself, transfer to the type of incense. For example, cedar incense would have the same effect as the wood itself in your spell. Below, you can get a glimpse of my incense stash.
Burning Resins and Herbs
If you want to go next-level with your incense magic, consider burning resins, wood, and herbs. Resins are just hardened tree sap. They don’t have any chemicals in them like stick incense does (which contains saltpeter to make it flammable). And they have a much cleaner smell.
A lot of these botanicals and resins have a deep spiritual connection and history as well. For example, copal resin has been used in Mexico for thousands of years by the Mayans and Aztecs. And it is used today during Day of the Dead ceremonies in Mexico. Native Americans, use white sage for smudging, or removing negative energies from people and places. Sandalwood had been burned in Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies for thousands of years and it’s believed to stimulate the third eye chakra. Palo santo is believed to have been used by the Incans for religious ceremonies.
As for me, I enjoy burning mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) as an offering for Artemis, my matron goddess, because it is sacred to her. I’ve also decorated her candle with the herb on my altar. Be ye warned, it has a slightly euphoric effect, a bit like drinking a couple glasses of wine. It also causes some super crazy lucid dreams. FYI, mugwort isn’t safe for pregnant women, because it causes the uterine walls to contract.
I also really enjoy handcrafting my own mixtures of loose incense for specific magical properties. For example, I mix palo santo chips, copal resin, and white sage for a very powerful clearing and cleansing incense to remove negative energy that I like to call GTFO. I have also made an offering to Aphrodite that included roses, lavender, and cinnamon chips.
If you haven’t tried stick incense before and don’t have the materials, I recommend getting a variety pack to decide what you like and what works for you in ritual. For example, this starter pack of six scents, comes with an incense holder for $8 so you can try it out. I love the white sage stick incense. Dragonsblood is a close second. It is important to find an incense you like.
The Moon Market, is another place online where you can find rope incense and handmade incense sticks. These are a little pricier, but so worth it. I love their rosemary, cedarwood, and amber stick incense. And their rose rope incense smells like perfume.
And if you are new to burning resins and herbs, I recommend my adorable little cauldron. I filled mine with black sand I bought at the Dollar Tree. And I got a selection of resins and herbs to try on Etsy for $8. My favorites are copal resin, dragonsblood resin, white sage, and frankincense resin. I didn’t care for benzoin resin. As a side note, you don’t use as much of these. One large piece of copal would scent the entire room.When these samples run out, I will buy some bulk resins on Amazon.
Oh and you will also need some charcoal tablets. These were confusing at first, but I figured it out. I pick the charcoal up with tongs and heat it up with a lighter. It will start to sparkle. Place it back in your cauldron and wait until it turns white. Once it does, you can place items on it to burn. Be very careful. It is super hot. It will burn for two or three hours, so don’t start one up if you plan on leaving the house any time soon.
Do you use incense in your rituals? Tell me in the comments below.