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Resins and woods are the raw ingredients of incenses. A resin is the dried sap that was "bled" from a tree. It contains sugars and other compounds found in the plant or tree's sap, which is why most have a sweet scent when burned. Other products in this category are chipped or ground up woods, like Sandalwood. These are often used as a base for powdered incenses, and like resins, most smell very good burned on their own. I also include Sage leaf and smudge sticks in this section because they are used in similar ways.
How to burn resins
The charcoals used to burn resins get very hot. Use a burner made for resin incense, with a metal screen or with sand or rocks to insulate from the heat.
We often break the charcoals in half because they burn for nearly an hour. Light the charcoal with a lighter or match, and when it starts to spark, put it in the burner.
lt is best to let the whole charcoal begin to glow before adding any resin. Then sprinkle on the resin as desired, a little bit at a time. lf you add too much or cover the charcoal completely, you might put out the charcoal. Also, most natural resin incenses smell better when burned in small amounts at a time.
Keep away from kids and pets. Let the charcoal burn down completely, and make sure it's all ash before throwing out because it could set trash on fire. Ask us how we know!
We don't clean the burner after every use. When there is a collection of ash in the burner, pour contents into strainer over the sink and rinse with water. Let dry, and put rocks back in burner. (If you use sand you'll just have to dump the whole mess and use fresh sand).
Store unused charcoal in a zip-lock bag or in a jar, because they won't burn well if they collect humidity from the air.
Gum ArabicGum Arabic has uses as a binder in many incense recipes since it is almost without fragrance by itself. It is also used as thickener in inks, a natural glue, and in cooking.
Gum Arabic is the sap of either of two trees in the Acacia genus, Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal. Most Gum Arabic comes from Sudan, Chad, and Nigeria. While we burn it as incense, it is used widely to thicken and emulsify all sorts of food and beverages, including most soft drinks.
Magickally, Gum Arabic is burned to purify an area of any negative influences and raise spiritual vibrations. I like to use it in incense blends because it sparkles like crushed glass. Powdered gum arabic is also used to bind the ingredients in combustible incenses, so you could use it to make your own cone or stick incenses.
The below correspondences are vis Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs in plain text, C.L. Zalewski, Herbs in Magic and Alchemy in brackets, and my own interpretations in parenthesis.
Gender: Masculine (Masculine)
Element: Air (Air)
Planet: Sun (Sun)
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