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Author Topic: Making Incense: Practical considerations.  (Read 1264 times)

Hematite

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Making Incense: Practical considerations.
« on: October 20, 2014, 09:32:57 am »
Ok, I respect that when it comes to incense from scratch, a big motivator for the recipes is going to be magical properties of components. after all, being able to put together a pretty common part of magic and ritual practice together can let you get really specific.

But after it's made, and burned, you still have to smell that.

Possibly days after the fact.

So while I have been doing large amounts of research into recipes, I can find loads on how magical it is, what type of magic it's good for, even the best moon phase and star sign to make it in.

I can't seem to find references on what it smells like when you burn it. unfortunately, based on test burns of some of the ingredients, many a recipe may smell something like burning trash and really noxious weeds at the same time.  Mind you, I can't be sure since the reference is telling me about energy and intent, not what my house may smell like if I burn a cone of it.

So does anyone have experience in this? Dragons blood with cinnamon and frankincense with ground maple leaves are nice for a beginning, but I would like to have a bit wider a range of scents.

veggiewolf

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Re: Making Incense: Practical considerations.
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 09:37:46 am »
Quote from: Hematite;162988
...

 
Most of the available recipes out there don't appear to focus on scent, you're right.  I did find a craft tutorial of sorts here that seems to apply to testing scents, but I don't make my own incense so I'm not sure how helpful it is.

Personally, I use incense as an offering rather than as a spell component, and I buy from Alchemy Works.
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Hematite

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Re: Making Incense: Practical considerations.
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 12:29:11 am »
Quote from: veggiewolf;163095
Most of the available recipes out there don't appear to focus on scent, you're right.  I did find a craft tutorial of sorts here that seems to apply to testing scents, but I don't make my own incense so I'm not sure how helpful it is.

Personally, I use incense as an offering rather than as a spell component, and I buy from Alchemy Works.


As long as you have a binder that wants to cooperate, there are several kitchen herbs that burn really nicely.

Psyllium seed husk powder, also used for gluten free baking and a fiber supplement seems to give me a very functional dough that shapes well and dries fast as hand rolled sticks. 1/8 teaspoon to 1-2 teaspoons of herbs seems to work well.

Mind you, some of the kitchen herbs smell good when lit, but don't stay lit well. Candy flavoring oil also works much like EO, but if I add too much I can really mess up burn time. I can test oils by sticking a tooth pick in the bottle then lighting the toothpick. Some of my fragrance oils failed the burn test, likely due to a carrier oil that doesn't burn pleasantly.

And the type of sage most common in grocery stores is....potent and fast burning. I may need to balance that with some mint or something to soften it and slow the burn down.

But my basic principle on incense as an offering is that if I don't like the smell, maybe the one I offer it to won't either.

But yeah, try a test burn of both lavender flowers and lavender leaves some time. The flowers smell like burning weeds, the leaves actually smell like lavender. Yet many of the recipes say use the flowers, making me suspicious of quality and competency.

It seems to me that if one wants to work with fire for spells or offerings, it helps to understand how fire affects the finished product.

Well, back to the kitchen. I just read about a "witches whisk" and have some black raspberry sticks that passed the test burn. Woody, sweet and fruity. If I fail at binding them together well enough to get a good burn, they will end up ground up and used for something else.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 12:30:10 am by Hematite »

Wanderer894

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Re: Making Incense: Practical considerations.
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 02:14:02 pm »
Quote from: Hematite;162988
Ok, I respect that when it comes to incense from scratch, a big motivator for the recipes is going to be magical properties of components. after all, being able to put together a pretty common part of magic and ritual practice together can let you get really specific.

But after it's made, and burned, you still have to smell that.

................
So does anyone have experience in this? Dragons blood with cinnamon and frankincense with ground maple leaves are nice for a beginning, but I would like to have a bit wider a range of scents.


Still a beginner, but I think what others have posted so far is sound advice. The only way to know what's going to work is to experiment. Make notes so you can duplicate the recipe later on. Also know that sometimes, it may not smell all that pleasant, but perhaps for whatever intention you have in mind, that can be overlooked until you find something better.

Re: lavender flowers vs. leaves - I was going to pick some from the backyard , but I was afraid the leaves would end up smelling horrible compared to the flowers. Maybe I should pick some anyway and save it for when the flowers run out.
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Hematite

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Re: Making Incense: Practical considerations.
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2014, 01:20:09 am »
Quote from: Wanderer894;163269
Still a beginner, but I think what others have posted so far is sound advice. The only way to know what's going to work is to experiment. Make notes so you can duplicate the recipe later on. Also know that sometimes, it may not smell all that pleasant, but perhaps for whatever intention you have in mind, that can be overlooked until you find something better.

Re: lavender flowers vs. leaves - I was going to pick some from the backyard , but I was afraid the leaves would end up smelling horrible compared to the flowers. Maybe I should pick some anyway and save it for when the flowers run out.

 
Lavender flowers: great for tea, honey butter, cookies, and dream pillows, potpouri. not great for burning. This is an herb part I would rather eat for magical reasons.

Lavender leaves: great for charcoal burning. Have not yet tried them in combustible incense. Also nice on chicken, substitute for rosemary, though it's milder. I would rather use this herb for savory cooking and burning, but it's not as aromatic left to open air, and not as intense as a tea. Heat of flames really activates it.

If you want to burn lavender, the leaves make for a superior scent, closer to EO.

Elementalist

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Re: Making Incense: Practical considerations.
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2014, 11:28:52 pm »
Quote from: Hematite;162988

So does anyone have experience in this? Dragons blood with cinnamon and frankincense with ground maple leaves are nice for a beginning, but I would like to have a bit wider a range of scents.


I spent a couple of years hobby-making fragrance with natural materials. That taught me a great deal about the character of various scents and I can now competently choose a selection of scents and have a good idea of the result. But that education only came through trial and error of mixing lots of materials in various combinations. I don't think there's a rule of thumb way to know quite honestly. When working with natural materials surprising things happen through their interactions and you can't alway predict it.

But what you can do is burn each item individually, write your thoughts on their smell (acrid, sweet, pungent, bitter) and how lingering or fleeting each one is. That will give you a reference point. Beyond that it's hands-on know how though.

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