Okay, this is a bit of an easy target, but here goes. I is for Incense. I’m sure you’re familiar with the image of the jewelry-bedecked, incense-wreathed Modern (and often very new) Witch. Terry Pratchett has a lot of fun with this image, although I do kind of wonder if it’s still accurate. (See, for example, Miss Sugar’s post where, apparently, they’re all hipsters now? So maybe less with the silver jewelery than when I was a whipper-snapper).
Incense. It’s a great way to energetically clean your house, and I try to do it at least every six weeks or so, plus whenever things are feeling kind of tense and gross and in need of a quick sweep. (Miss Sugar – who I’m apparently internet-stalking today – says that when you can’t physically clean your house, giving it an energetic scrub will go a long way. This seems to be the case, in my experience, so let’s go with it).
The trick with incense is that, well, you burn it. So if you’ve got a particularly sensitive smoke detector, pets with small lungs, or are having some respiratory difficulties, filling your house with smoke may not be the best plan.
That said, I find that wandering around the place with a burning incense stick, wafting it into all the nooks and crannies, framing my doors, windows, mirrors, drains, and faucets with it and drawing Xs over them with it, while muttering protective incantations (I tend to go with “only love may enter here” because it’s quick, easy, and to-the-point. You may want to use something else).
Now, being a crafty type, something I would like to try is Making My Own Incense.
And I like the idea of making specifically incense cones because they don’t take up much space, you can burn them in a tart-pan if you want to, and – while getting them to stay upright as you wave them around, smoking your house, is a little difficult (maybe I can use some kind of goo/gum to make that happen?), they are generally easier to clean up after than both incense sticks and foil-wrapped bundles of dried herbs. Plus you don’t need to invest in those little charcoal tablets, either, which is handy.
I found the following video tutorial on Youtube:
But, of course, this brings up some questions. Questions like: Do I have to use Makko powder? Really? Can I just use, like, very fine (cedar or other) sawdust, or some kind of flour, instead? You’re basically looking for something that burs evenly and sticks together after it gets a bit wet, right?
This other tutorial – which I can’t embed and which is 17 minutes long (the How To part is actually only about two or three minutes long, starting at minute 13) and talks you through a specific incense – has a different way of doing things that doesn’t call for makko, but does call for a big heap of salt (or sand or what-have-you), a receptical, and a rolled up paper tube. (It’s also about using what you’ve got in your spice cupboard, which – kitchen witch that I am – I rather like).
So that’s a place to start.
I like the idea of making my own incense, mostly because I like to make things in general, but also because it does let me (a) use what I actually have available in my kitchen and/or what I have available as far as what-all’s growing in the neighbourhood, and (b) can taylor my incense to what I want it to do. (I have incense sticks in “purification” but I have no idea what the Active Ingredients in this one are, I’m just kind of taking them on faith, so to speak). So it would be nice to make my own.
Anywhoo. That’s my chatter on incense, one of its uses, and my desire to make some of my own. YAY!
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 And by “small”, I mean “smaller than a very small parrot’s”, because we’ve got a Senegal, and she does just fine, even with incense burning right beside her… though she does tend to make the Smoke Detector noise when we do that.
 Like the ones I’m having right now.