As part of my April A-Z blog challenge on all things mystical, here's the letter I...
For many, the term conjures up images of tie-dyed hippies or teenagers trying to rid their room of that "mari-j-uana" smell before Mom and Dad find out. But incense has many spiritual and mystical uses outside the "sixties mind-expanding" variety.
Ancient Egyptians, Jews, Eastern religions, Native American Indians, and even Catholics are no stranger to the practice of offering up incense during rituals. Its smoke and pleasing aroma is used as a form of prayer and worship. Pagan religions also use incense in this manner. Incense is also used in rituals, Feng Shui, and other practices in order to purify or sanctify a space.
From the purely mystical aspect, incense can be used to help make the "shift" in consciousness necessary in order to access the higher self or subconscious, useful for meditation practices. Watching incense smoke can have a hypnotic effect some use as an aid in divination. Incense is said to be able to attract spirits inhabiting a household or building.
Why is incense so important? Leaving the mystical behind for a moment, consider smells in general, and how powerful they can be. Not in the literal "Mom Made Cabbage Again" sense, but in the FEELINGS they can evoke. Have you ever caught a whiff of something that immediately took you back to your childhood? Recalled a favorite (or not so) moment in your past? Our olfactory sense has powerful ties to our brain, as well as our sense of taste. So perhaps it is also a potential source of energy connecting us to mystical forces, deity, or our higher selves.
Just as certain smells transport us to various destinations in our past, different aromas are used for different purposes. Frankincense, for instance, is used for purification and as an aid to meditation. Jasmine is common for love and attraction, lotus for blessing and meditation. Mint is used for money, healing, and travel. Lavendar is common for peace, blessing, and children or marriage. Sandalwood is another good choice for protection, meditation, or purification. Spice up the bedroom with Patchouli, which is associated with lust, fertility, love, and attraction (as well as money and clairvoyance).
Incense can be burned in stick, cone, or loose forms, and should be watched carefully.
For more information on incense and its uses, check out these sites: