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Author Topic: Alternatives to Incense?  (Read 2474 times)

Local Magpie

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Alternatives to Incense?
« on: February 17, 2018, 11:03:11 pm »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?

TransporterMalfunction

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2018, 11:46:10 pm »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?

My husband is mildly allergic to everything under the sun, so I got an essential oil diffuser instead. However, the cost of essential oils may be prohibitive to some.
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Yei

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 01:49:16 am »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?

Why would a cat stop you from burning incense?

Local Magpie

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 01:57:27 am »
Why would a cat stop you from burning incense?
The smoke isn't good for them and I can't keep them out of my room when I'm doing rituals.

Ashmire

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 03:40:41 am »
My husband is mildly allergic to everything under the sun, so I got an essential oil diffuser instead. However, the cost of essential oils may be prohibitive to some.

It also may not solve the problem.  I'm often more affected by oils than incense, and so are cats from all I've heard.   That said, I think it would have to be a pretty heavy amount of incense to cause a problem unless there is a specific allergy in play.  Maybe just use less and ventilate more?  I don't burn more than a half teaspoon of loose incense, or one piece of stick or cone incense, because I do get asthma. 

Sobekemiti

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 04:36:54 am »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?

My cat's never been bothered by it; she's been more irritated with me sprinkling water around the house to purify than incense and she doesn't hang around when I do ritual either, so mostly it's a non-issue for me. If she's in my room when I start, she usually doesn't hang around for long.

That said, both incense and essential oils can be very bad for cats, so if you can't keep your cat out of your ritual space and there's nowhere you can move your ritual space to that will enable you to keep the cat out, either a) don't burn incense or oils at all, or b) burn just a little bit it by an open window to give you better ventilation and so it doesn't hang around so much. You might want to consider switching to Japanese incenses, as they are low-smoke and don't trigger my migraines and asthma as bad as Indian-style incense does.
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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2018, 04:46:18 am »
The smoke isn't good for them and I can't keep them out of my room when I'm doing rituals.

Honestly, I doubt that any alternative will be any better. And I'm not too sure that a cat would really be all that bothered. Assuming of course, that your place is reasonably large and well ventilated.

I used to burn resin incense, and my family cat never seemed to have a problem with it.

Jenett

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2018, 08:36:28 am »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?

I am all for moderation and thinking through the situation here. Yes, you want to take care of your cat. (Yay, cats!) But there's a huge variety of materials used, and a huge range of ways people describe using incense. Burning it all the time (and I've known people who do that), not good.

Burning a small to moderate amount of high quality incense without filler materials, in a well-ventilated room, with spaces that the cat can choose to move to that are not as involved (and possibly an air filter running afterwards) is a different situation.

How much do you want to burn? How often?

I like sticks for this, where you can burn it for a minute, and then stub it out when you have the necessary amount. In my tradition's practice, we use a lit incense stick for two steps in the ritual (that take place less than about 5 minutes apart) and could then stub it out. That is a tiny amount of incense compared to many uses (Especially if it's only done a couple of times a month rather than every day.)

Cones and loose incense are a bit harder to control that way, though loose incense does give you more control over ingredients.

I have really cranky lungs (asthma, lung scarring, allergies, and just, y'know 'it's a day ending in Y, why should I work?') so I use my own comfort level as a marker: if my lungs are not even beginning to complain, there isn't a lot of smoke in the air. (I do run an air purifier full time, that cycles the air in the room a couple of times an hour, so most smoke is also gone within 20 minutes or so. This also prevents particles settling on bedding/etc.)

A lot of cheaper incense sticks use petroleum-based fragrance oils: looking for higher quality ones that get their scent from powdered herbs (and then avoiding some of the ones that can cause cats more problems) and that use resin or high quality bases will also help a lot.

Some other options, for ritual use:
1) Pouring libations in a bowl
This works if you can easily take that outside privately: I live somewhere where that would be difficult, since I'm right on a major street and it's a couple of blocks to the nearest park/green space/trees with ground around them.

2) A small amount of annointing oil onto some sort of object
A clay, wood, etc. statue might work well here, something that would absorb it. You could add a few drops of essential oil for scent, since you're not warming it.

3) Figuring out a hot drink that includes things that work
And letting the steam from the tea (or whatever) drift upwards. Will require some research for something that's suitable for the deities involved and something you can drink.

4) Consider annointing a small amount of money (like a dollar bill) and then depositing that money for a cause relevant to that deity.
But that takes a certain amount of fiddling to make sure you have sufficient bills of the right kind and a way to donate them, which is definitely easier in some circumstances than others.
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Louisvillian

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2018, 03:55:27 pm »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?
Burn it outside? Or on an open windowsill?
Or, depending on your religion/path/deities, make other kinds of offerings. To use an ancient example: in just about every instance where the Romans used incense, the Greeks used libation: start of a major ritual, basic household rites, et al. You could take a cup and pour its contents on the bare earth, or as Jenett suggests pour it into a bowl to dispose of later as you see fit.

Dynes Hysbys

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2018, 05:18:29 pm »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?

My cat is another one that isn't bothered by incense at all (neither are the dogs!). I've had cats for many many years and never had a problem with incense.

TheGreenWizard

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2018, 12:58:58 pm »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?
Hey there and welcome to the forums!

Offerings depend on your deity/deities - in my practice, I use incense, but if need be, I know the sound of music - particularly string instruments, music boxes, bells, and certain wind instruments - would also work well as an offering.

Think about your particular deities and have a conversation with them about this.

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2018, 10:20:16 am »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?

I am another cat owner who's kitties don't seem to mind the incense (though I do have to watch one of them because she is fascinated by the smoke and would happily play with it and probably burn herself in the process if I didn't watch her).  I, myself, am a bit sensitive to incense, so I don't burn it that often, and try to make sure it has enough room to dispense (I can't, for example, burn incense in the bedroom with the door closed...at least not if I want to be able to breathe without coughing for the rest of the day).

One thing I really like burning though is bay leaves.  Firstly I love how they smell, and secondly they are a very quick burn that don't leave lingering smoke.  There is actually some evidence they may help (as opposed to hinder) respiratory issues, as well as create a calming de-stressing effect in people.  Just make sure you have a nice fireproof place to drop them when they flare up (because they do).  I burn mine over the sink, to be extra careful.

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2018, 09:57:14 am »
You might want to consider switching to Japanese incenses, as they are low-smoke

Some good tips in this thread.

Morbid

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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2018, 10:42:23 am »
Hello everyone! This is my first post here so sorry if I make any mistakes.
So I got a cat recently which means that I can no longer burn incense. I believe that the smoke carries things up to the deities, as well as being an offering. I don't personally use it to represent air. Any suggestions?
Welcome to TC!  Not sure if you answered this or not but is it the smoke or the smell that that bothers the cats?  Because there are incense that are smokeless or odorless.  Other than that perhaps a candle could serve a similar purpose?  I only have dogs now but the cat we had was never bothered by incense. 
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Re: Alternatives to Incense?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2018, 08:13:39 pm »


Burning a small to moderate amount of high quality incense without filler materials

Questions for the assembled wisdom: 

How do you evaluate incense to determine if it's  high quality, i.e., no petroleum-based or artificial fragrances, high quality ingredients, no fillers etc.?

How is Japanese incense different from Indian incense? How do you find it?

How do you know if incense is smokeless?

I haven't shopped for incense in a very long time because most triggers migraines for me. But it sounds like maybe there's more available than there used to be. In my extremely cursory, recent glances at incense packages, I haven't noticed these kinds of descriptors.

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