Making Your own Incense By: Misanthropy Moderator / Adept
Post # 1 Jan 09, 2017
To start out, I'll post info on some of the types of items that can be used in making incense, then some correspondences, and finally the actual process for making your own incense.
Gums/Resins: Freeze gums and resins (and the mortar and pestle) for about half an hour before trying to grind them. It makes the grinding process easier. Grind them in a mortar and pestle. You can also grind pre-soaked rice in it to help fill any small holes in its surface so that the gums and resins don't stick in the holes.
Woods: Sometimes it's better to buy pre-ground wood. You can get it in small chips or powdered forms. If you do want to make your own, use a hammer and chisel. Break off small pieces of the wood and then use the hammer and chisel to get them down to pellet size. Once they are that big you can finish grinding them in a coffee grinder.
Herbs, Spices, and Flowers: Most of these can easily be ground in a mortar and pestle. With things like cloves, it can be harder to grind them. Grind them in the mortar and pestle first and then run them through a grinder or mill.
Fruit: Citrus fruits can be grated and then the grated peels can be dried and used in incense. You can also dry peels by placing them on screens, wax paper, a cutting board, and so on. Turn them occasionally. Once they are dried, you can grind them in grinders or mills and then use them in incense blends.
Re: Making Your own Incense By: Misanthropy Moderator / Adept
Post # 3 Jan 09, 2017
There are two types of incense, combustible and non-combustible. Combustible incense have potassium nitrate (saltpeter) in them to help with the burning process and non-combustible incense don't. Combustible incense are usually burned in cones, sticks, and bricks. Non-combustible incense are sprinkled on charcoal blocks.
So, the first type of incense we'll talk about is non-combustible. I'll post information on it today and then tomorrow morning I'll post the second half on combustible incense that way it will all be posted around the days leading up to the chat discussions.
Making Non-combustible Incense:
Measure each ingredient before and after grinding them. You can use a scale or measuring spoons. If you measure with a scale measure them in grams. If you use measuring spoons, 1/4tsp, 1/2tsp, 1tsp, and 1 tbsp. You can use measuring cups too if you are making large amounts of incense.
Step 1. Make sure all ingredients are grind to a granular form. Grind them separately before you mix them.
Step 2. Once you are ready, mix them and if you can grind them again if you want.
Step 3. You can now add essential oils at this time. Just add a small amount, only a few drops should be needed. You can also use the oil in the place of an herb that you don't have.
Step 4. Charge your incense with your goal. (This only needs to be done if you are using it along with a spell, ritual, or any magic related purpose.)
Step 5. Heat your incense. You can do this by placing them on or near a hot charcoal block. If you place it directly on the block it can burn away quickly and makes a lot of smoke, so I would recommend just placing it right beside of the charcoal.
You can make adjustments to the incense as you like. Just remember that some ingredients can smell differently when burned so test small amounts of the ground herb before using it in your recipes.
The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews by Scott Cunningham.
Incense: Crafting and Use of Magickal Scents by Carl F. Neal
Re: Making Your own Incense By: Misanthropy Moderator / Adept
Post # 4 Jan 09, 2017
Combustible Incense: Some of the ingredients can be hard to find.
Making Your Glue: - If you have never worked with the gums before and are unsure if you are allergic, be sure to wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt when making your incense.
Gum tragacanth glue, also known as mucilage, is the base ingredient for this type of incense. It can be found in some herbal stores and some pharmacies may carry it. It can be expensive to buy. It was 3.00 an ounce at the time of the printing of Scott Cunningham's book. The book was printed in the late 80s - early 90s so prices for the gum may have changed.
If you can't find the Gum tragacanth glue, you can use gum arabic in its place.
To form the glue, take a teaspoon of the gum and put it in a glass of warm water. Mix it up until all of the gum is dispersed and dissolved. You can speed up the process by using a whisk. This may cause foam to rise, but you can skim it off.
Let the gum absorb the water until it becomes a thick, unpleasant smelling paste. The consistency of the mixture you are making depends highly on the type of incense you are making. Incense sticks are thinner in composition and cones and blocks are heavier in composition.
Once you have made your glue, set it aside and cover it with a damp cloth. It will continue to thicken up, so if it gets too thick just add a little water.
Making Your Incense Base:
This is for a cone incense base.
You will need:
6 parts non-self-igniting Charcoal
1 part ground Benzoin
2 parts ground Sandalwood
1 part ground Orris root
6 drops of an essential oil that is associated with the herbs added.
2-4 parts of an empowered incense (this is an incense that you have made and charged for rituals, Sabbats, spells, and so on. This is made from a non-combustible incense.)
Mix the first four ingredients until you have them well blended. Add the essential oil and mix with your hands. The powder needs to have a fine texture. If you need to, grind it in a mortar until it has the right consistency.
Once that is done, add the empowered incense and mix well. Use a kitchen scale and weigh the incense once you've mixed all of it. Then, add 10% potassium nitrate (you can usually find it at pharmacies). If you made 10 ounces of incense, add an ounce of the nitrate. Mix this until it is properly blended.
If you add too much of the nitrate, the incense will burn too quickly. If you add too little, it might not burn at all.
Now, add the tragacanth glue a teaspoon at a time. Do this until all of the ingredients are wet. For cone incense, the mixture will need to be very stiff and dough-like.
One a sheet of wax paper, shape the incense into cones. Let the incense dry for 2-7 days in a warm spot.
"The Complete Book Of Incense, Oils, and Brews." ~ Scott Cunningham
You can try burning the loose incense on a coal that you can light, and sprinkle the incense on. You can sprinkle an adequate amount as well and leave it on the coal to burn. You will need a charcoal incense burner or firesafe bowl or dish for the coal and you will want to hold the coal with tongs or tweezers when lighting them and placing them in a firesafe bowl. Cauldrons are good for use with coals and loose incense.
Here is a link for the coals made for the purpose of using with loose incense:
Well, the "green" witch inside me is cringing. (I'm green to the point of having graduated in botany at the University of Vienna. And I'm also a teacher, now where is my red pen....?)
Do you just want to produce a bit of smoke with an interesting smell or the mixture supposed to do something?
Dear fellow "green" witches, let's first identify what we are talking about.
What is "sage" supposed to be, for example?
Salvia divinorum is illegal in many countries (and is indeed quite dangerous), so you better do not own that stuff.
Salvia apiana isn't native in my country. Even if I can buy it, I can't make sure that it was collected with the utmost respect for it's native ecosystems. Or is it a clone that was produced in a tissue culture lab? That's very common and makes sense if you want to use a herb for healing - but that's not what I want to burn as an incense.
So, I'll stick to the "sage" plants in my garden: 1 Salvia officinalis, 2 Salvia pratense, 1 Salvia aethiopis (my favourite!), 2 Salvia nemorosa ("Caradonna" and a wild specimen), 3 Salvia glutinosa, 1 Salvia verticillata, 4 Salvia glutinosa and 1 Salvia austriaca.
Same with thyme, I own 4 species. "Pine" could mean Pinus cembra, Pinus mugo, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus nigra - and a lot of foreign species.
Which one???? They differ botanically and they differ in their traditional use. Salvia nemorosa will influence your dreams if used as a tea (not addictive, not dangerous), it grows in sunny, hot ecosystems and it's flowers are
dark blue. S. glutinosa grows in the shade, in forests, it avoids direct sunlight and it's pale yellow flowers aren't very pretty.
If the weather clears up, I might burn some incense for Imbolc. (Dear fellow asthma patients, never use incense when you can't open the windows. And avoid incense oils, they cause allergic reactions.)
I recently discovered a native oak that was hit by lightning and I harvested some lightning-created charcoal from the trunk. Also, a cut down and dying apple tree allowed me to take chips of his wood and some of his young leaves. I'll burn the apple wood chips on the oak charcoal to begin and to end spring cleaning in my home. For me,it works.