Making Magical Incense for Samhain

Sweetly scented smoke, spiralling upward to the stars, Sun and Moon, is almost a universal feature of magical alters. It is linked with magic and religion as far back as can be traced. The earliest Witches and magicians threw fragrant herbs and woods onto fires or glowing embers to release their scents. In later times, cauldrons contained these charcoal blocks, and the ritualistic burning of incense became an established part of magical and religious practice.

From Magical Herbalism, by Scott Cunningham

Pumpkins

Samhain, or Halloween, is just around the corner. The shops seem to have more Halloween goodies in every year, which makes me very happy. I may have picked up some pumpkin fairy lights along with my weekly shop this week.

Traditionally however, Halloween is the Autumn Cross Quarter Festival, the most important in the Wheel of the Year as it marks the end of the Celtic Year, and the beginning of the new one. Celtic understanding of the cycle of the year saw death and darkness as important and necessary, and saw this part of the year as a period of rest and regeneration before rebirth. Halloween, or Samhain, is a magical time. It is names after an Aryan lord of death, Samana, a pre-Christian male god.

This is the time of year to look inside yourself and review what you have experienced and learned throughout the active part of the circle of the year, let go of what holds you back, and nurture new visions, dreams and ideas. It’s a time to think of our ancestors and to honour the earth. I think it’s really special to carry out your own small rituals at this time of year. I have always lit a candle on 31st October to honour this time.

This year, I thought it would be wonderful to make my own Samhain incense. As I quoted at the start of this post, incense has been used for centuries in magic. It can be used to raise vibrations, cleanse and purify the energy in your home and to build up a wonderful atmosphere. Perfect for looking towards the start of the new Celtic year. And the most powerful incense, is one which you make yourself.

Making Incense

To make your own incense, you will need a selection of herbs and resins, a pestle and mortar (although this is optional, you could choose not to grind the resin down any more and just mix in a bowl). To use your incense, you will need a burner and some charcoal discs.

Indigo Herbs Incense

I talked recently about the history of frankincense, in my post about making your own Frankincense infused oil. As well as it’s multitude of other wonderful properties, frankincense is also one of the most powerful cleansing incenses, and is perfect for purifying an area. So I used this as the base of my incense, and started with 25g.

I also chose;

Dragon’s Blood – This is actually a tree resin from the Dragon Palm tree, which is popular for ritual purposes to bring luck, protection, power and courage. This comes as a powdered resin. I used a couple of pinches.

Pine  – This is used to honour the earth, lift the spirit and clear negative energy. I used 10g.

Myrrh – Also purifies, lifts vibrations and aids meditation and peace, I used 15g.

Calendula – One of my favourite herbs, from which I’ve made soothing salves and lotion bars. This calendula ‘tea’ is also great to add to your incense blends, for protection and to honour the ancestors. I added a small handful.

Simply mix all of your resins and herbs together, and put in an sealed glass jar. As you can see, the quantities are not an exact science, although I would recommend a larger amount of your base incense, which in this instance is frankincense, and then around half the amount again of the other resins.

Burning incense on charcoal discs

To use your incense, you need to light one of the charcoal discs, until it is sizzling and burning white. Take great care in doing this, as it gets hot! If you’re lucky enough to have a woodturner or open fire on the go I find the easiest way is to dip it into the flames for a few seconds, otherwise it can of course be lit with a match.

Drop your sizzling charcoal disc into the burner, and put a generous pinch of your incense blend on the top. The resins will immediately begin to melt and let off the most wonderful fragrant smoke.

Burning Incense

Then you just need to sit back, relax, meditate, and enjoy the wonderful mixture you have made.

It’s important to use the incense in a well ventilated room, and as the smoke is quite strong, I wouldn’t recommend burning it around children. I used to love burning incense on charcoal discs out in the garden. This would be wonderful on a (mild!) Autumnal evening, wrapped up in blankets and watching the smoke twirling upwards towards the stars!

Indigo Herbs Incense

All of my supplies, including the charcoal and burner, came from the amazing Indigo Herbs of Glastonbury, who stock a wide range of incense resins and ready made blends.

I’d also recommend the following books, if you’re interested in Magical Herbalism and learning more about the Wheel of the Year.

There is also a wealth of information about the magical properties of herbs and resins on http://www.witchipedia.com

Have a Happy Halloween, and a Blessed Samhain, however you choose to celebrate!

This is a collaborative post with Indigo Herbs

magical incense

About The Author

thesparklenest

Mama of two beautiful boys. I’m veggie, vintage loving, a bit of a crafter and a bit of a hippy. I love the countryside and pretty things.

15 COMMENTS

  1. MELANIE EDJOURIAN | 18th Oct 17

    I had never thought to make my own incense before what a great idea. I have used myrrh in the past but that was for treating sore throats

  2. Emma Raphael | 18th Oct 17

    Loved this post, so interesting. I would be tempted to make my own one day, that way you can experiment until you get the scent that you really like. That Glastonbury shop sounds amazing too! :)
    Emma Raphael recently posted…Two at Finkley Down FarmMy Profile

  3. Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry | 18th Oct 17

    I would never have thought to make my own incense – thanks for sharing how to do so as I may give it a go!
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry recently posted…Brabantia Bo Touch Bin Review – Stylish LivingMy Profile

  4. Patrick | 18th Oct 17

    What a interesting idea and a way to get in touch with your inner Wiccan spirit.
    Halloween is HUGE here and seems to get more popular each passing year

  5. Nancy Laws | 19th Oct 17

    I have never thought of creating my own incense but it may get me to enjoy them more. I usually hate the scent of incense

  6. lisa prince | 19th Oct 17

    oh wow what a fantastic idea i would love to give this a try ive never thought to do this before

  7. Baby Isabella | 19th Oct 17

    Autumn is such a good time to let go of dead things in your life and move on with new dreams and aspirations. We love this post and might try to make some ourselves x
    Baby Isabella recently posted…All aboard the MSC Preziosa! #BlogCampOnBoardMy Profile

  8. melissa major | 19th Oct 17

    These sound lovely, I have never thought about making my own incense but I am so tempted too now, sounds like fun

  9. Rhian Westbury | 20th Oct 17

    I’ve never thought about making my own incense before but it sounds like a great idea x
    Rhian Westbury recently posted…Ultimate Asos October HaulMy Profile

  10. Jen | 20th Oct 17

    A wonderful post, all very interesting. I love your take on the Halloween stuff. Making your own incense is a fab idea. I once did something similar years ago, but not as good as this. It sounds wonderful. I shall have to get concocting again.

  11. Melanie | 20th Oct 17

    I love this idea! Incense making would be great to pick up on seasonal notes…I may give this a go :) x

  12. Yaya | 20th Oct 17

    I am definitely going to check out the books you recommended. I can just imagine how good this incense smells! x

  13. Danielle | 21st Oct 17

    I have never even thought to make my own. Such a great idea, as you can find something to really suit you.

  14. Jenny | 21st Oct 17

    This was a really interesting read. I would never have thought of making my own incense before.

  15. Lucy Melissa Smith | 23rd Oct 17

    Ooh, I can’t tell you how much I love this! I’ve recently become really curious about paganism so I’ll be giving this a go! x

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