The censer is one of the basical elements in arranging the altar for ritual. Whether we use our incense in sticks, cones or grain, we must have a vessel to hold the ashes and isolates the altar from the heat of the burning incense.
If we’re using sticks, the best will be to have a shallow, wide mouth recipient (like a soup bowl), full of sand, where we’ll nail the sticks to consume. The same if we’re using cones. If we want to use grains, the censer must be heat-proof, for the burning coals will release extreme heat. This last type is the most advisable, since it gives us the freedom of making our own mixes from scratch, using a few basic elements and adding herbs or even flowers if wanting to.
In every case, it’s better if the recipient has some kind of handle, or chains like the old Church censers, to handle it without getting nasty burns. We must keep in mind that in some cases we’ll have to walk around with it, for instance, if we’re doing a house cleansing. The better materials are clay, ceramic or bronce, being the former the cheaper but more fragile, and the later the most expensive.
The censer and the coals slowly consuming, represent the elements of Fire and Air in the rituals, both masculine. Generally, the censer will be placed on the right of the altar, needing a case similar to the one we ought to have with lit candles.