How to Use Incense for Magic

pagan objects with incense sticks

Incense has been an integral part of many religions throughout the coarse of time. It often held a deep root to a society’s spiritual culture. The fragrant herbs, resins, and spices created a tranquil atmosphere and a sense of bliss which otherwise would not have been possible. There are many reasons why people burn incense.

I have recently been asked by a few people how to use incense for magic, so I thought I would write an article on the topic.

Incense is usually considered representative of the air element, although some traditions consider it representative of fire instead. It is a key component of Wicca practice and is used in many of their rituals. It is used in many of traditions and rituals of Wicca origin.

Rituals, Traditions, and Magic

A censer is a commonly chosen as an incense burner. Dried herbs or resins are placed within the incense burner on top of lit charcoal. Many practitioners will carry the censer around their circle or ritual location. Swaying the censer around allows the smoke to swirl and provide insight into their practices.

Some Wicca practitioners prefer to use more relative methods, such as cauldrons, rather then a censer. This provides a dark atmosphere to their practice and allows them to practice as others did, long before them.

Due to the use of charcoal, burning resin incense can prove to be tiring. Many modern practitioners have opted to use incense sticks or cones due to their simplicity of use. They are also safer then using charcoal, and allow a much wider range of style choices. However, you may like either one, so be sure to try out a few different styles and see which you prefer!

In addition to simply burning incense for it’s fragrance, incense is also sometimes used as an offering. Contrary to Hollywood tales, Wicca practitioners are not all evil, dark witches trying to summon up spirits or demons. Rather, it is a term for people who practice under a wide umbrella of lineages and origins. Incense can be burned as an offering to any power the practitioner feels exists.

Some people also use the smoke from incense to help in scrying. They sometimes say the smoke helps them see into another plane of existence. I don’t personally buy into this, but I thought it important to note.

Another use is for purification. Smoke has been used to keep evil spirits or dark energies at bay in many traditions since ancient times. Due to this, many people consider burning incense a protective measure.

How to Decide Which Incense is Best For You

Nowadays there are many different scents and styles of incense and the options are only increasing everyday. A resurgence of New Age, Wicca, and traditional East thought in the West are bringing incense to a new height of popularity in the region. Unfortunately, many incense sticks are now made with synthetic or toxic materials. Be sure to buy a brand made from natural materials.

As for deciding which incense is best for you, I would recommend you simply keep trying them until you find some that you really like. Personally, I really like nag champa and sandalwood incense sticks. Aloeswood is another favorite of mine, but it is pretty pricey to buy the real stuff!

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