Here in the Southern Hemisphere we are about to celebrate the first day of Summer. Although it has been a record breaking hot Spring, the light in the afternoons are a blessing and the long nights perfect for preparing Christmas and Solstice Gifts!
This year I am trying my hand at home-made incense.
This recipe was created with the intention of renewal on Summer’s Eve (here in Australia) as an offering for giving thanks, letting go of the year that has been and opening to the blessings of the coming year.
I gathered pine needles and cypress branches from local wilderness tracks and parkland over time picking branches that had already fallen. I was blessed by the local Cockatoos who take their liberties this time of year and break off the new growth of pine tips. Recent storms presented the offering of the Cypress branches. I allowed them to dry for several weeks and then put them through a coffee grinder to make a fine powder. I allowed these ingredients to sit and dry out further (particularly the pine needles need quite a long time to dry out otherwise when put through the coffee grinder they smell like grass!). My main motivation for Pine was to re-create the smell of a Christmas tree.
For combustible incense (stick and cones) you will need 1 Part Binder to 3 Parts Wood/Dry ingredients. The proportions will be up to you and depend on material availability and your personal taste/preference. For this blend I used:
Dry Ingredients; Pine, Cypress, Sandalwood
Binders: Frankincense, Myrrh
I soaked rose petals in hot water and added the liquid to the dry ingredients until I had a past that stuck together while moisture could still be extracted when squeezed. I then kneaded the dough for 5-10 minutes.
This process, from sourcing the materials, walking my local area, drying, cutting preparing and finally assembling were all opportunities to put energy and intension into the incense. Here are the qualities of the ingredients chosen for this blend:
Pine support the immune system, improves vision, protects against pathogens and assists lung health.
Pine needles can be used as a tea for its Vitamin C, which stimulates the production of white blood cells and antioxidant properties. It is used to prevent hair loss, improve skin health and assists blood vessel and muscular regeneration.
Symbology: The ancient Pine species lent its name to the Pineal Gland (regulates the body’s natural rhythm of rest and renewal and regulate the reproductive cycle), which rests within the centre of brain, linked to our ability to perceive light. It is used to represent the third eye and inner sight.
Key words: Creativity, life, longevity and immortality
Cypress oil is antiseptic and can assist with respiratory spasms, muscle cramps, stops excessive blood flow and improve lung efficiency. It is a mild sedative, relieving nervous tension and anxiety. Also used in the treatment of arthritis, asthma, bronchitis and diarrhoea.
Healing, Cleansing and Protecting
Associated with death, mourning and a symbol of respect for the dead. Its shape is symbolic of hope.
Key Words: Reverence, Renewal, Relaxation.
High in sesquiterpenes which regulate emotions and stimulate the Pineal Gland. Its properties are antiseptic and antispasmodic and used for the treatment of inflammatory disorders.
Supports Meditation practice and is thought to open the mind and evoke pure awareness.
Symbology: The scented element of the sandalwood tree is derived from the ‘heartwood’ from deep within its centre. Considered a divine material in India and used for transformation and enlighten
Keys words: Sensual, relaxing, calming, devotion, transformation
Used for medicinal and ritual purposes since ancient times, Frankincense is a cure-all for our stressful lifestyles. It assists in focusing the mind and releasing the tension of the body.
Relieves chronic stress and anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, immune support, and reduce high blood pressure and calm the heart rate.
High in sesquiterpenes which regulate emotions and stimulate the Pineal Gland.
Symbology: Frankincense is mentioned 52 times in the bible and used in ceremony and ritual for centuries. It is mentioned along with Myrrh in the Song of Solomon:
Till the day doth break forth, And the shadows have fled away, I will get me unto the mountain of myrrh, And unto the hill of frankincense.
Healing: Myrrh, which traditionally was closely paired with Frankincense (and derived from the same plant family) has been used in ancient times to treat hay fever, herpes and to tend to wounds due to its antiseptic properties. It is anti-fungal, anti-depressant, immune boost, and improves circulation (to name just a few). Like Sandalwood and Frankincense, Myrrh is also high in sesquiterpenes.
Symbology: Connected with St Nicholas (of 4th Century Turkey), is told to have been given along with gold and Frankincense at the birth of Jesus.
Key Words: Purifying, Restorative, Regenerative, Strengthen
May your Solstice and New Year be blessed with the warmth of the sun, and your new year bring good health and happiness.
Renewal Incense can be made to order. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org