Magical Work: Burning Paper – Reasons and Alternatives

English: This "Burning Paper" was cr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did some work this morning involving burning paper, and have decided that this is at best impractical* in my current living situation.

I’m now thinking about the different reasons one might burn papers in magical work, and how one might choose alternatives based on the intended purpose. I can think of lots of practical alternatives (need to destroy it? cut it into tiny bits; need to mix it in a liquid? just let it dissolve), but I’m curious about how the symbolic or energetic purpose of the burning might make one choose a different substitute action, or perhaps decide that there is no appropriate substitute.

So, why might you burn a paper? What purpose does the fire serve? What would you do instead if you couldn’t use fire?

*This may or may not have involved me sitting in the bathtub with the window open and the air cleaner on. Thank goodness for a January thaw.