How to use Loose Incense


Incenses may be used as part of a magic ritual or simply used on its own with visualisation to attract the appropriate magical influences into your life.
There are several methods of using incense.
The Charcoal Method will produce the strongest scent and lots of smoke.
The Oil Burner Method produces a much more gentle fragrance and very little smoke. The Oil Burner Method is ideal if you (or someone else) is sensitive to smoke. Or if you find that the Charcoal Method keeps setting off your smoke alarm!

Charcoal Method

Stand your incense burner (or dish) on a heat proof surface. Half fill your burner (or dish) with dry sand, salt or earth. This will help to provide insulation against the heat of the charcoal disc.

(If you do not have an incense burner, then you should use a small earthenware or metal dish instead. You will be burning a mixture of resins, gums, woods etc. The dish will get covered in soot and sticky resins so choose something old that you don't need anymore - whatever you choose, don't go using your best china! Use something you would be happy to throw away - or you can get something for a few pennies from a charity shop.)

To light the charcoal disc, hold it with tongs in a naked flame. If you have no tongs, place the disc in the burner and light it from there - not quite so easy and it will take a little longer to light.

(As an alternative to using tongs, you could support the charcoal on an old metal fork that you don't need anymore. WARNING! The fork will become discoloured and covered in soot and you'll never get it clean again! So only use an OLD fork that you would be happy to throw away - or get one from a charity shop.)

The charcoal disc will sparkle and smoke slightly and will become very hot very quickly. After a few seconds, the sparks will stop and part of the disc will have begun to glow red hot. Your disc is now lit. Place the disc in the burner on top of the loose earth or sand and sprinkle up to half a teaspoonful of loose incense on top of it. The incense will start to smoulder and release fragrant smoke almost immediately. When the smoke begins to thin out, add a bit more incense - not too much or you will extinguish the charcoal block. Incenses containing high proportions of resins and gums will burn for much longer than those containing mostly leaves, woods and flower petals.

When you have finished your incense burning, wait until the disc has cooled completely before disposing of it.

Oil Burner Method

This produces a much more gentle fragrance and very little smoke.
This is ideal if you (or someone else) is sensitive to smoke. Or if you have an over-sensitive smoke alarm.
Pour a little oil into the bowl at the top of the burner (about 1cm depth is ideal).
You can use any aromatherapy carrier oil or a good quality cooking oil.
Don't use an oil that has had a fragrance or flavouring added to it. (i.e. Not a blended massage oil that has essential oils added to it. That lovely garlic/chilli/herb infused cooking oils are wonderful for cooking with but not suitable for incense burning! Use a pure unblended, unfragranced, unflavoured oil.
Ideal oils are: olive, almond, coconut, grapeseed, avocado, jojoba, sunflower etc. Our personal favourite is olive oil.
Add about 1/4 teaspoon of incense to the bowl.

Place a lighted tea-light underneath the bowl.

The fragrance of the incense will soon start to fill the room.

Always place the oil burner on a heatproof mat.
Never leave the lighted candle unattended and keep away from curtains etc. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
Do not let all of the oil evaporate from the bowl or it may crack.
Do not overfill the bowl.
Keep a damp cloth nearby in case you need to extinguish the flame.

The oil/incense mixture in the bowl of the burner will remain hot long after you extinguish the candle flame so wait at least an hour before touching the burner to clean it.
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