Till tomorrow, my sweets……

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Incense, Asthma and Allergies

Incense, Asthma and Allergies

A reader asks, “Considering the major role that incense plays in rituals, Circles, cleansing and so on; what would be your suggestions for people trying to perform such activities that have asthma or allergies? There is not much that is more distracting then trying to concentrate on the task at hand and having it interrupted because you suddenly can’t breathe and are coughing trying to get oxygen.

In many cases, the smoke from burning incense can exacerbate asthma. You do have a couple of different options, because there are a number of smoke free alternatives to using incense.

Reader RainbowSkittles, who not only has asthma but also has two kids who suffer from breathing issues, says, “What I use instead of commercial incense sticks is the loose grain incense. I can mix it with water, put it in a small bowl, and heat it up over a tealight burner. This produces the scent, without the smoke.”

MyLittleHomie has a radiator in her apartment, and places frankincense crystals in a pie tin, adds a bit of water, and then places the tin on the radiator.

“You can smell it all over the apartment, and there’s no burning charcoal or smoke to cause my asthma to flare up.”

On the other hand, if your situation is that you’re allergic to certain fragrances – and many of the commercially available incense brands contain synthetics that trigger allergic reactions – you may find that using only natural, fragrance-free incenses is the way to go. Some readers report that if they burn dried plant material like smudge sticks – sage or sweetgrass, for instance – they have no reaction, but if they use commercial incense, it has a negative impact on their ability to breathe.

Keep in mind that it may not actually be the fragrance you’re allergic to, though. A 2008 study looked at religious practices in a number of Asian countries, where incense use is routine. The researchers suggest that allergic reactions to fragrance in incense might in fact be a reaction to tiny particulates that are inhaled into the respiratory system during prolonged exposure to incense smoke.

In some cases, allergic reactions to incense can be more complicated than merely a respiratory issue. A few people have such great sensitivity that they break out itching all over, in a true anaphylactic reaction.

If this is the case in your situation, be sure to check with your healthcare professional, who may be able to provide you with an antihistamine to take if you start experiencing symptoms. There are also individuals who suffer from a disorder known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity syndrome, in which various symptoms are believed to stem from chemical exposures in the environment – incense, perfume, fragrant candles, even laundry detergent.

Finally, do keep in mind that if you’re just using the incense as something representative of the element of Air, you can always substitute something else – a fan, feathers, or whatnot. If you’re using incense as a method of cleansing a sacred space, you might want to try one of these other techniques instead.

 

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Incense 101 – How to Make and Use Your Own Incense

Incense 101 – How to Make and Use Your Own Incense

Smoke in the Sky:

For thousands of years, people have used fragrant flowers, plants, and herbs as incense. Using smoke to send prayers out to the gods is one of the oldest known forms of ceremony. From the censers of the Catholic church to the Pagan bonfire rituals, incense is a powerful way to let your intent be known. You can make your own quite easily, using a blend of herbs, flowers, wood bark, resins, and berries.

Most of these are items you can grow yourself, find in the woods, or purchase inexpensively.

Why Incense?

Incense — and other fragrant items, such as oils and perfumes — work on a couple of different levels. The first is the effect on your mood — a certain scent will trigger a particular emotion. Aromatherapists have known for years that smells affect different parts of the senses. Secondly, an aroma may have various associations. You may be walking through a store, catch a whiff of Chantilly, and suddenly be reminded of your grandmother who passed away when you were away at college. The smell of a particular food may evoke memories of the summer you spent at camp.

Finally, we experience scents on a vibrational level. Every living being has energy, and emits its own vibration – plants are no different. When you blend them into incense, these vibrations change in accordance with your intent. This is why, in magic, incense is so popular — in addition to making your ritual space smell nice, you are able to change the vibration in the atmosphere, effecting change in the universe.

Why Make Your Own?:

You can buy commercially produced incense sticks and cones just about anywhere, and they’re not that expensive. However, they’re typically made with synthetic ingredients, and therefore have little to no magical value. While they’re nice to burn, and certainly smell lovely, they serve little purpose in a ritual setting.

Burning Your Incense:

Loose incense, which is what the recipes on these pages are for, is burned on a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. The charcoal discs are sold in packages by most metaphysical supply shops, as well as church supply stores (if you have a Hispanic Marketa near you, that’s a good place to look too).

Apply a match to the disc, and you’ll know it’s lit when it begins to spark and glow red. After it’s glowing, place a pinch of your loose incense on the top — and make sure you’ve got it on a fireproof surface. If you’re holding your ceremony outside with large fire, simply toss handfuls into the flames.

How to Read the Recipes:

Any good cook knows that the first step is to always gather your goodies together. Collect your ingredients, your mixing and measuring spoons, jars and lids, labels (don’t forget a pen to write with), and your mortar and pestle.

Each incense recipe is presented in “parts.” This means that whatever unit of measurement you’re using — a cup, a tablespoon, a handful — is one part. If a recipe calls for two parts, use two of whatever you’ve chosen. One half part is a half cup, if you’re using a cup to measure, or half a tablespoon if you’re using a tablespoon.

When making your own incense, if you’re using resins or essential oils, combine these first. Use your mortar and pestle to mash these until they get a bit gummy, before you add any bark or berries. Dried herbs, flowers, or powdery items should go in last.

A Note on Allergies:

Many people suffer from allergic reactions to incense smoke. In many cases, this is caused by a reaction to synthetic materials in commercially-produced incense. Some people find that they have less of a reaction if they use incense made only from natural materials. However, if you have an allergy or some other condition that can be triggered by incense smoke or fragrance, you should consult your physician before using any incense, whether it’s commercially bought or home-made and organic. You may find that the best solution for you is to just avoid the use of incense altogether.

 

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Incense to Use for A Specific Purpose

Incense to Use for A Specific Purpose

Anointing:
Acacia, angelica, carnation, cinquefoil, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, lily of the valley, lotus, myrrh, rose, rosemary, vervain.

Banishing & Releasing:

Cedar, clove, cypress, patchouli, rose, rue, violet, betony, elder, fern, mugwort, St. Johnswort, vervain, yarrow.

Blessing & Consecration:

Carnation, cypress, frankincense, lotus, elder, rue.

Clairvoyance & Divination:

Cinnamon, lilac, acacia, laurel, eyebright, honeysuckle, marigold, mugwort, nutmeg, rose, thyme, wormwood, yarrow, dittany of Crete, hazel, moonwort, rowan.

Courage:

Allspice, must, rosemary, dragons’ blood, mullein

Good Luck:

Cedar, lotus, mint, vervain, violet, nutmeg, bayberry, cinnamon, cinquefoil, honeysuckle, chamomile, jasmine, yellow dock.

Inspiration & Wisdom:

Cinquefold, acacia clove, cypress, fir, hazel, laurel, lily of the valley, oak, moss, reed, rosemary, rowan, rue

Love:

Apple blossom, birch, cinquefoil, gardenia, honeysuckle, jasmine, musk, rose, vervain, acacia, catnip, elder, fern, heather, juniper, lavender, marigold, marjoram, mistletoe, moonwort, patchouli, savory, vanilla, valerian, wormwood, yarrow

Purification & Cleansing:

Frankincense, lavender, bay, laurel, myrrh, rosemary, vervain, betony, dragons’ blood, hyssop, oak, peppermint, salt, thyme, woodruff

Willpower:

Rosemary, St. Johnswort

Daily Incense

Daily Incense
 
 
SUNDAY:
Lemon, frankincense.
 
MONDAY:
African violet, honeysuckle, myrtle, willow, wormwood.
 
TUESDAY:
Dragon’s blood, patchouli.
 
WEDNESDAY:
Jasmine, lavender, sweetpea.
 
THURSDAY:
Cinnamon, musk, nutmeg, sage.
 
FRIDAY:
Strawberry, sandlewood, rose, saffron, vanilla.
 
SATURDAY:
Black poppy seeds, myrrh.

Traditional Sabbat Incense

Traditional Sabbat Incense
 
 
CANDLEMAS:
Angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, celandine, heather, myrrh, and all yellow flowers.
 
SPRING EQUINOX:
Acorn, celendine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, Easter lilly, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, rose, strawberry, tansey, and violets.
 
BELTANE:
Almond, angelica, ash tree, bluebells, cinquefoil, daisy, frankincense, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, marigold, meadowsweet, primrose, roses, satyrion root, woodruff, and yellow cowslips.
 
SUMMER SOLSTICE:
Chamomile, cinquefoil, elder, fennel, hemp, larkspur, lavender, male fern, mugwort, pine, roses, Saint John’s wort, wild thyme, wisteria, and verbena.
 
LAMMAS:
Acacia flowers, aloes, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, sunflower, and wheat.
 
AUTUMN EQUINOX:
Acorns, asters, benzoin, ferns, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaves, passionflower, pine, roses, sage, Soloman’s seal, and thistles.
 
SAMHAIN:
Acorns, apples, broom, deadly nightshade, dittany, ferns, flax, fumitory, heather, mandrake, mullein, oak leaves, sage, and straw.
 
WINTER SOLSTICE:
Bay, bayberry, blessed thistle, cedar, chamomile, evergreen, frankincense, holley, juniper, mistletoe, moss, oak, pine cones, rosemary, and sage.

The Magickal Properties of Incense

The Magickal Properties of Incense
 
ACACIA:
Burned with sandelwood to stimulate the psychic powers.
 
AFRICAN VIOLET:
Burned for protection and to promote spirituality within the home.
 
ALLSPICE:
Burned to attract both good luck and money.
 
ALOES:
Burned to attract good fortune, love, spiritual vibrations, and strength.
 
ALTHEA:
Burned for protection and to stimulate the psychic powers.
 
ANISE SEEDS:
Burned as a meditation incense.
 
BASIL:
Burned to exorcise and protect against evil entities (such as demons and unfriendly ghosts), and to attract fidelity, love, good luck, sympathy, and wealth. This is also an excellent incense to use when preformiong love divinations.
 
BAY:
Burned to facilitate the psychic powers, and to induce prophectic dream-visions.
 
BAYBERRY:
Burned mainly to attract money.
 
BENZOIN:
Burned for purification and to attract prosperity.
 
BISTORT:
Burned (often with frankinsense) as a powerful incense to aid divination.
 
BRACKEN:
Burned in outdoor fires to magickally produce rain.
 
CEDAR:
Burned for purification, to stimulate or strengthen the psychic powers, attract love, prevent nightmares, and heal various ailments, including head colds.
 
CINNAMON:
Burned for protection and to attract money, stimulate or strengthen the psychic powers, and aid in healing.
 
CITRON: 
Bunred in rituals to aid healing and also to stregthen the psychic powers.
 
CLOVE:
Burned to dispel negativity, purify sacred and magickal spaces, attract money, and stop or prevent the spread of gossip.
 
COCONUT:
Burned for protection.
 
COPAL:
Burned for purification and to atract love.
 
DAMIANA:
Burned to facilitate psychic visions.
 
DITTANY OF CRETE:
Burned to conjure spirits and to aid in astral projection (especially when mixed with equal parts of benzoin, sandelwood, and vanilla).
 
DRAGON’S BLOOD:
Burned to dispel negativity, exorcise evil supernatural entities, attract love, and restore male potency. Many Witches also burn dragon’s blood for protection when spell casting and invoking. When added to other incenses, dragon’s blood makes their magickal powers all the stronger.
 
ELECAMPANE:
Burned to strengthen the clairvoyant powers and scrying (divination by gazing) abilities.
 
FERN:
Burned in outdoor fires to magickally produce rain. Also used to exorcise evil supernatural entities.
 
FRANKINCENSE:
Burned to dispel negativity, purify magickal spaces, protect against evil, aid meditation, induce psychic visions, attract good luck, and honor Pagan deities.
 
FUMITORY:
Burned to exorcise demons, poltergeists, and evil supernatural entities.
 
GALANGAL:
Burned to break the curses cast by sorcerers.
 
GINSENG ROOT:
Burned to keep wicked spirits at bay, and for protection against all forms of evil.
 
GOTU KOLA:
Burned to aid meditation.
 
HEATHER:
Burned to conjure beneficial spirits, and to magickally produce rain.
 
HIBISCUS FLOWERS:
Burned to attract love.
 
HOREHOUND:
Burned as an offertory incense to the ancient Egyptian god Horus.
 
JASMINE:
Burned to attract love and money, and also to induce dreams of a prophectic nature.
 
JUNIPER:
Burned to stimulate or increase the psychic powers, and also to break curses and hexes cast by evil sorcerers.
 
LAVENDER:
Burned to induce rest and sleep, and to attract love (especially of a man).
 
LILAC:
Burned to stimulate or increase the psychic powers, and to attract harmony into one’s life.
 
MACE:
Burned to stimulate or increase the psychic powers.
 
MASTIC:
Burned to conjure beneficial spirits, stimulate or increase the psychic powers, and intensify sexual desires. The magickal powers of other incenses are greatly increased when a bit of mastic is added.
 
MESQUITE:
The magickal powers of all healing incenses are greatly increased when mesquite is added.
 
MINT:
Burned to increase sexual desire, exorcise evil supernatural entities, conjure beneficial spirits, and attract money. Mint incense also possesses strong healing vibrationsand protective powers.
 
MYRRH:
Burned (often with frankincense) for purification, consecration, healing, exorcism, and banishing evil. Myrrh is also aids meditation rituals, and was commonly burned on alters in ancient Egypt as an offering to deities Isis and Ra.
 
NUTMEG:
Burned to aid meditation, stimulate or increase the psychic powers, and to attract prosperity.
 
PATCHOULI:
Burned to attract money and love, and also to promote fertility.
 
PINE:
Burned for purification, and to banish negativeenergies, exorcise evil supernatural entities, and attract money, as well as to break hexes and return them to their senders.
 
POPPY SEEDS:
Burned to promote female fertility, and to attract love, good luck, and money.
 
ROSE:
Burned to increase courage, induce prophetic dreams, and attract love. Rose incense is used in all forms of love enchantment and possesses the strongest love vibration of any magickal incense.
 
ROSEMARY:
Burned to purify, aid in healing, prevent nightmares, preserve youthfulness, dispel depression, attract fairyfolk, and promote restful sleep and pleasant dreams.
 
RUE:
Burned to help restore health.
 
SAGE:
Burned for protection against all forms of evil, and to purify sacred spaces and ritual tools, promote wisdom, attract money, and aid in the healing the body, mind, and soul.
 
SAGEBRUSH:
Burned to aid healing, and to banish negative energies and evil supernatural entities.
 
SANDALWOOD:
Burned to exorcise demons and evil ghosts, conjure beneficial spirits, and promote spiritual awareness. Sandalwood incense is also used by many Witches in healing rituals and in wish-magick.
 
SOLOMON’S SEAL:
Burned mainly as an offertory incense to ancient Pagan deities.
 
STAR ANISE SEEDS:
Burned to stimulate or increase the psychic powers.
 
STRAWBERRY:
Burned to attract love.
 
SWEETGRASS:
Burned to conjure beneficial spirits prior to spellcasting.
 
THYME:
Burned for the purification of magickal spaces prior to rituals, to aid in healing, and to attract good health.
 
VANILLA:
Burned to attract love, increase sexual desire, and improve the powers of the mind.
 
VERVAIN:
Burned to exorcise evil supernatural entities.
 
VETIVERT:
Burned to break curses, and for protection against sorcery (black magick) and thieves.
 
WILLOW:
Burned to avert evil, attract love, and promote healing. It is also used by many Witches as an offertory incense for Pagan lunar deities.
 
WISTERIA:
Burned for protection against all forms of evil.
 
WORMWOOD:
Burned to stimulate or increase the psychic powers. When mixed with sandalwood and burned at night in a cemetery, wormwood is said to be able to conjure spirits from their graves.

A Little Humor for Your Day – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary

Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary

Author prefers to remain anonymous

Day 752— My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I’m forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

Day 761—-Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving in and out of their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, note must try at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair……must try doing this on their bed.

Day768—I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was given the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called (shampoo). What sick minds could invent such a liquid? My only consolation is the piece of the thumb still stuck between my teeth.

Day 771—There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary confinement throughout the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they called ” Beer”. More importantly I over heard that my confinement was due to my Power of Allergies. Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

Day 774—I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half wit. The bird on-the-other-hand has got to be an informant he speaks with them on a regular basis. I am certain he is reporting on my every move. Due to his placement in a metal room his safety is assured. But, I can watch and I can wait. It is only a matter of time.

 

Wiccan Magick

Astronomy Picture of the Day – The Lagoon Nebula in Hydrogen, Sulfur, and Oxygen

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 January 5

The Lagoon Nebula in Hydrogen, Sulfur, and Oxygen
Image Credit & Copyright: John Nemcik

 

Explanation: The majestic Lagoon Nebula is filled with hot gas and the home for many young stars. Spanning 100 light years across while lying only about 5000 light years distant, the Lagoon Nebula is so big and bright that it can be seen without a telescope toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius). Many bright stars are visible from NGC 6530, an open cluster that formed in the nebula only several million years ago. The greater nebula, also known as M8 and NGC 6523, is named “Lagoon” for the band of dust seen to the right of the open cluster’s center. The featured image was taken in the light emitted by Hydrogen (shown in brown), Sulfur (red), and Oxygen (blue) and displayed in enhanced color. The featured picture is a newly processed panorama of M8, capturing twice the diameter of the Full Moon. Star formation continues in the Lagoon Nebula as witnessed by the many globules that exist there.