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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in incense

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ancient Incense: Pellets (history)

As Pagans, most of us are very familiar with using “loose” incense on charcoal or an incense heater.  Most of us are also very familiar with incense sticks, cones, coils and other shapes of “self-combusting” incense.  You might be familiar with the best known ancient incense from Egypt called kyphi, but kyphi was developed long after incense had become widely used in many cultures.  You might not be familiar, however, with what is very likely the first form of manufactured incense; the pellet.  Although there is no definitive historic proof, it seems logical that this would be the first form of manufactured incense since it is seemingly an outgrowth of herbal medication.

As knowledge of herbal medicine grew, and practitioners grew more skilled, the first “pills” began to appear.  These were remedies blended from a variety of herbal medicines and bound together into pellet form, often by the addition of honey as a binder and a sweetener.  At some point someone (whether by design or by accident) placed one of the herbal pills near a heat source and discovered that certain blends give off wonderful aromas.  Incense making was born!

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Elements of Incense

This is the first entry in Carl Neal's new blog, "Incense Magick." Entries for "Circle of One" can still be found in the archives of Carl Neal's writing on PaganSquare.

I started making incense in 1995. Since then I have taught thousands of people to make incense in various workshops and classes and tens of thousands through my books, web sites, and You Tube channel. I obsessively research incense and read every book I can find on the topic. Over the years of speaking with various practitioners and students, as well as reading many “magick 101” books, I have learned that most people regard incense as representative of the element of either fire or air (or occasionally both). For decades now I have respectfully disagreed.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • John Zelasko
    John Zelasko says #
    Hello Carl! I joined the website just this evening and was delighted to see there was another incense fanatic like myself. My fasc

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Burning Local

Well, that's it, then: the last of the sweetgrass braided.

Summer braiding for winter burning.

Sweetgrass, cedar, sage: here up North, our trinity of local incenses.

There's copal, of course: exotic resin of the fabled southern Lands of Ever-Summer.

But mostly, we burn local, just as we always have.

Back in the Old World, it was the same. Frankincense, myrrh: exotic imports from the resin-cultures to the South.

Up North, we mostly burned local.

There's no common Indo-European word for incense (the old Witch word was reckels, literally “little smokes”), but if the IE-speaking ancestors did indeed have an incense culture, one could perhaps make a case for juniper, still burned as a sacred smoke in the Gaelic-speaking Hebrides, in Germany on Weihnachtsabend, and among the Kalasha, the last remaining pagans of the Hindu Kush.

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Creating Sacred Space with Pagan Prison Inmates – III

Next Steps

Now that we have the banners, we await other supplies, primary among them being incense.

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