Incense - Everything you need to know

Incense - Everything you need to know

Guest contribution by Tina Nordhaus

Our ancestors already knew that incense from certain herbs can purify the air and create an atmosphere. They used incense for protection, cleansing and healing purposes or simply for personal well-being in certain circumstances and events in life. Smoke works on all levels: Physically, on the emotional level, on the mental level and in the subtle realm.

Noble substances such as woods, resins and herbs are converted into smoke when burned, which carries the essence to a subtle level. The fire acts as a mediator.

Incense in the cacao ceremony

We can all create a sacred space for ourselves and design it freely through our alignment. The incense and ritual work is a large, powerful field in shamanic work. By connecting the different levels (spiritual and physical), it can initiate profound processes and thus bring about major changes in reality.

Incense is used:

❉ for cleansing
❉ to bring existing energies out of the rooms or the system
❉ for reinforcement and clarification
❉ to bring new energies and a new orientation into the living space, into the system
❉ for support in getting in contact with beings - beings: for example the cacao spirit, personal helper beings, power animals, ancestors and other energies

Which incense?

The quality of the incense stands and falls with the energy quality of the incense. This is exactly the same as with cacao. The range of incense goods is overwhelmingly large. Especially with many herbs and resins from all over the world, which traditionally do not exist here because they are not native to us (such as myrrh, copal and benzoin)! These incenses have stored the energy of the rituals of origin, the culture of the land and the harvest.

It is more than powerful to use as much regional herbs, woods and resins as possible, because every incense product stores the energy of the country of origin, the production itself and the distribution. If we use herbs, resins or incense sticks that have been produced or harvested with child labor and under the exploitation of the local society, we can be sure that the positive effect of the incense will not appear. The opposite will happen. With such a mixture we reinforce lack thinking, anger and sadness even more. As a result, we increasingly feel the need to burn incense again.

Smoking with incense sage at cacao ceremony

How does incense work?

Incense has a similar effect as in homeopathy. It is about separating the spirit (effect) of the plant from the matter (plant body). For this process, the embers of the fire are used for transformation.
In this now spiritual form, the plant spirit can spread unhindered and unfold its power. The forces of the elements amplify this and act symbolically in the embers (fire), the bowl (incense) (water), the plant (earth) and space (air).

Two things play together: Human intention & the power of the plant

The plant being, detached and transformed by the embers, gives us its power and thereby helps in the implementation of the intention. Incense therefore works primarily on a spiritual and emotional level. You, as a person, should be clear about your intention. Do you want to burn incense to cleanse or to energize? This alone results in two completely different methods of incense burning!

How and what to incense?

I recommend 2 passes in a row. First to cleanse with incense and then to energize with incense.

Incense for cleansing

For cleansing, I recommend incense with herbs. It is always important to ensure that the incense is balanced. This means a mixture of the incense for

❉ the feeling-oriented side (female side)
❉ the mentally oriented side (male side)

For "cleansing smoking" I only use dried herbs
(and no woods or resins... see why below...)

The indigenous method:
Sage (male)
❉ Cedar (female)
(Only the needles of the cedar, since the resin is still in the wood.)

or the counterpart to the indigenous method:
Our local herbs
❉ Juniper (male)
❉ Mugwort (female)

A basic rule for "cleansing incense" states that cleansing is always carried out anti-clockwise ↺. That is, you move around the room to the left and you go from room to room in a left circle.

ATTENTION: resins & woods
Some resins and woods are often and willingly used for "cleansing incense", but not always with the right use: Frankincense or Palo Santo (the resin in the wood), for example, strengthens the energies that are already there (in the room, in the aura, in the system).

And resins are a viscous substance that manifest something - so you can visualize it. That's why I do NOT recommend, for example, cleaning incense with incense, as the negative energies are also strengthened.

In the churches, mugwort and juniper (male/female) and then lavender and thyme (male/female) used to be smoked and energized. Only then was the resin (e.g. incense) used.

Incense to energize

For this you can use wonderful local resins such as red and silver fir resin, larch resin, stone pine resin or pine resin. They have a heart-opening and connecting, calming or revitalizing effect.
For example, you can use meadowsweet or elderberry to mix and balance male and female energy.

To energize a room, move your incense clockwise around the room ↻. You are using universal laws.

How to burn incense properly?

This is best done with a fireproof bowl and a feather to work with the smoke. One begins by placing the censer on the ground in front of oneself and then "bathing" one's feet (soles) in the smoke and allowing the smoke to rise up the feet and legs.

You then take the bowl in one hand - the quill in the other hand and start on the front. You move from bottom to top with the bowl and fan the smoke over your body. Especially in the abdominal area you take a little more time, that's where the feelings and our center are. It continues under the arms, around the arms and hands, over the neck and head.

At the back, you first place the incense burner on the ground and let the smoke rise slightly. Then you take the vessel and the quill back in your hands and fan the smoke with your hands behind your back towards your head.

Then you can use the pen to strip the released energies from the aura to the outside. away from the body.

The Incense feather

The incense feather in particular seems to me like a conductor's baton, directing the smoke in such a way that it can have an effect in all places.

Smoke is like water and finds "its way" very independently and does not necessarily need the support of the feather. So why a feather at all? For me, the feather is in the sign of air and is therefore the sister of smoke. And the two work very well together. With feathers, heavy energies can be drawn out of our aura very well.

Smoking with incense pen

What are call woods?

Incense of palo santo (sacred wood) is an indigenous method of summoning beings. In Peru, the Bursera graveolens tree is subject to strong conservation laws and its trade is heavily regulated. However, there are offers - and you should pay attention to this - from sustainable management that only take the wood from fallen trees.

The "holy wood", according to the free translation, has an aromatically sweet, rather masculine scent. Its smoke connects very well with the earth and plant forces, calming the mind and grounding at the same time. The scent stays in place for a few days and thus carries the effect further.

Palo Santo is an excellent means of activating the intrinsic power of place, invoking the genius of a home, or when used to design sacred spaces. Before a medicine hike, i.e. the ritual-meditative inspection of the landscape, the incense is well suited to support the transition of a participant into the other world, before trances to call the supporting spirits.

Our native call wood and the counterpart to Palo Santo is birch wood or ash wood.

Finally, a few personal lines to you...

There are a variety of incenses - please always use organic incense, which is fairly traded and produced, harvested, etc. under fair conditions.

In this article I write about my experiences with ritual incense. I had wonderful mentors on my way and was able to learn about plants and smoking from Marlis Bader and Wolf Dieter Storl, among others. Today I am happy to pass on my knowledge and experience from twenty years of smoking.

I always tell and teach about how I experience smoking - my very personal experiences and empirical values, new developments from it, my own impulses and experiences - without claiming sole validity.

I sincerely wish you a lot of fun smoking and many wonderful experiences!

Love, Tina from Wildwood ➚

Tina Nordhaus - Mrs. Kakao