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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.
Sandalwood, Indian Sandalwood, White SandalwoodThis is the standard Sandalwood, Santalum alba we usually think of, smelling soft, sweet, mellow, and meditative burned or as a sachet. Magickally, Sandalwood is used for elevating spiritual vibrations, and for protection, offering, Full Moon rituals, prayers and wishes, healing, attracting benevolent spirits. It blends very well with most other resins and incense herbs, serving as a base and fixative.
Now for the bad news. Indian Sandalwood is being unsustainably over-harvested. The price of the essential oil especially has skyrocketed. There are just not enough trees to supply the ever more demanding and growing human population. Australia has seen the writing on the wall and has undertaken the planting and sustainable management of a related Sandalwood species, but I would not ever expect Sandalwood essential oil to become much more affordable even so. And near as I can tell, all the Australian Sandalwood is being used exclusively for essential oil, and is not being marketed as powder incense. So use Sandalwood reverently, sparingly, in small amounts in blends to make the most of this limited resource. If you are grinding your own incense, choose the powder. You will not be able to grind up the chips. I believe my Sandalwood powder may be enriched with Sandalwood essential oil.
For other potions for peace, tranquility and serenity, see my
The below correspondences are vis Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs in plain text, C.L. Zalewski, Herbs in Magic and Alchemy in brackets, or my own interpretations in parenthesis.
Gender: Feminine Feminine (Feminine)
Element: Water (Water) [Earth of Air]
Planet: Venus (Moon) [Mercury]
Zodiac: (Virgo, Libra) [Virgo]
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