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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.
Lignum AloesIt is unlikely that real Lignum Aloes will ever be available at any price. To the best of my knowledge, it was over-harvested to commercial and perhaps biological extinction, and because of the long-term nature of the crop, will never be restored by a capitalist system. Lignum Aloes was austere yet deep. It has been used in Japan for thousands of years, "the scent of Nirvana". Near as I can tell, the powder I once carried was made from the Aquilaria agallocha tree, but it was no where near Oud quality, a perfume that was once made from the exudate that oozed from Aquilaria trees of over 300 years that had fallen, then were infected by a microbe that caused the ooze.
Lignum Aloes, also called Agarwood, smells more like Sandalwood, with a slight tanginess. Really, only if you must have it, otherwise please use the Wood Aloes, below. It is unusual in that it has a Water element and is ruled by the planet Venus, rare correspondences to find in incense ingredients. Magically, Agarwood is used to enhance spirituality and spiritual devotion, and to attract love. It is associated with the ancient musical instrument, the oud, and it may be that ouds were originally made from the same tree that gives us Oud perfume and Aloeswood incense. This would explain the Venus association.
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: Feminine (Feminine)
Element: Water (Water)
Planet: Venus (Venus)
Zodiac: (Pisces, Libra)
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