Incense Magick: Art & Ritual of Incense

Incense fanatic Carl Neal walks you through the joys, wonders, and science of making and using natural incense. From making your first basic cone to creation and use of elaborate incense rituals, Incense Magick is your guide to the sometimes secretive world of incense and incense making. Every article explores different facets of incense, incense making, ingredients, rituals, tools, or techniques.

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A Pagan Tradition for Mother's Day

My significant other considers Mother’s Day (along with Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day) to be a holiday created purely for commercial reasons.  As a result, she will not celebrate any of those ‘holidays’.  I brought a different view of Mother’s Day when we got together.  She and I are both Pagans and when I explained this alternate approach to Mother’s Day she wholeheartedly embraced it.  I have to thank my friend Amy in Oklahoma for teaching me this Mother’s Day tradition that she and her son have followed for many years.  I think her clever reinterpretation of this holiday is perfect for most Pagans.


Rather than, or in addition to, this being a celebration of your mother or the mother of your children, make Mother’s Day about our mother.  Amy’s tradition is to go out on the morning of Mother’s Day (conveniently always on a Sunday) to a wild space like a park or river.  She brings a truck, gloves, and garbage bags so that she and her son can celebrate Mother Earth by helping to clean up one little corner of the world.  When I first learned of this I fell in love with the idea.  For many years I would go out once or twice a month to a park next to the Arkansas River early on a Sunday morning.  I would go out and pick up trash, of which there was always an abundance, and when possible haul away large debris on occasion.
Naturally (pun intended) this new approach to Mother’s Day struck a chord with me. It was just the right thing to do.  The moment Amy began to explain her Mother’s Day tradition it was instantly obvious that this was an awesome idea.  Not only did she spend that morning working with her son but she was also teaching him to revere and honor the Earth as a source of life and power.

We can teach our children in many different ways, but it’s our behavior that teaches them the most.  Taking a holiday that is almost purely commercial and turning into a way to help the Earth and pass on our reverence to younger generations is a typical example of Pagan ingenuity.  I hope that you will join others and celebrate Mother’s Day in a new way this year.  Even if you celebrate a ‘traditional’ Mother’s Day you could still conclude the day with an hour of trash patrol.  As your children thank you for being a loving mother, why not thank Mother Nature as well?


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  Carl Neal has walked a Pagan path for 30 years. He is a self-avowed incense fanatic and has published 2 books through Llewellyn Worldwide on the topic. For many years (and even occasionally these days) he was a vendor of altar tools and supplies which led him to write The Magick Toolbox for Red Wheel/Weiser  


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