Incense is one of the more common magical tools. Many practitioners use incense for nearly every magical act, from simple meditations to elaborate rituals. It’s not that its a very powerful or versatile tool, but it is a fairly useful one. Incense utilizes our sense of smell to help align both the practitioner and the area in which it is burned with a desired mood and energy. Some common uses for incense include:
-In spellwork and ritual incense is often burned to help raise energy, adjust the energy of the area, and/or aid the practitioner in achieving trance.
-In meditation incense is burned to help the practitioner achieve states of clarity, focus, and/or calm.
-Incense is often used as an aid to achieve astral projection and lucid dreaming.
-In cleansings and exorcisms incense is burned to purify or sanctify an area.
-Preferable incense can be burned to attract certain types of entities to an area, where as deplorable incense can be burned to repel certain types of entities from an area.
-When contacting a deity, incense which is associated with the deity is often burned both as an offering and show of respect for the deity and also to help the practitioner make a connection with the deity.
-Since incense is burned, a fire elemental can be summoned into it and held for spellwork.
-Incense can also help us connect into the ideas and energies it is associated with.
There are literally thousands of types of incense out there. Even discounting the weird blends they sell, there are still hundreds of different types of incense that can be bought, some of which are only slight variations of each other, if you’re lucky enough to have a good store nearby. If not, for instance if you’re buying your incense at the grocery store, you’ll have a much more limited selection. I’ve put together attributions for sixteen scents which are fairly common and I’ve seen most of these in stick form at the grocery store. Most everyone should be able to find at least ten of these, if not all sixteen. These sixteen are also some of the more useful types you’ll find too.
16 Common Incenses
Amber – Represents both knowledge and history. Amber is good for meditations in which you’re seeking to discover information. It’s also very good for past life regressions and divinations into the past. Air associative.
Cedarwood – Cedar, like all wood incenses, is fire associative. It’s also generally seen as an incense denoting strength or power. It’s proper to burn this incense in a fort or castle, within an army prior to battle, or in a newly built or dedicated temple to announce ones strength and to push this strength outward into the world. It’s also a good incense for spells meant to increase virility in men.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon is by far the most useful incense and also one of the easiest to find. To start, cinnamon is fire associative, which makes it a good choice when dealing with fire elementals and also useful for communing with fire associative deities (like Mars). It’s also associated with passion, lust, and sexual desire, which makes it good for lust spells, aphrodisiac spells, and a good choice to burn during sex. But the thing that really sets it apart is cinnamon is really good at raising energy. If you’re trying to raise energy, cinnamon is the incense you want to burn. If you want to do a very powerful spell or ritual, it’s good to burn cinnamon to help get the energy you’ll need to pull it off. Because more energy isn’t going to hurt a spell, cinnamon is a good standard incense for any spellwork or ritual. About the only time you wouldn’t want to use cinnamon is when either the fire attribute or the lust attribute would be undesirable in a given spell (such as when evoking a water elemental or when casting certain types of love spells).
Frankincense – Frankincense promotes calm and peace. It’s commonly used to relieve stress and anxiety. However it is also useful in ending conflicts and arguments, reestablishing a friendship that has ended due to conflicts (as opposed to neglect), bringing peace and resolution to enemies, and bringing peace and resolution to warring factions. It also alleviates the tension of a tense situation. In all instances, the purpose of frankincense is to end any conflict or tension and bring about a state of peace and calm. Because of its nature frankincense is often used as both a general incense for religious rituals and as an aid for meditation. Frankincense is also believed to have many healing properties, and these are related to relieving conflicts and stresses within ones body which lead to illness.
Ginger – Ginger is fire associative. It’s good for spells which incite desire or lust.
Jasmine – Jasmine is both night and love associative. Although Jasmine is associated with love, it is not associated with sex or sex appeal, although it is associated with beauty. This is where Jasmine starts to differentiate itself from Rose. In love spells, where Rose tends to utilize the entire spectrum of romance, Jasmine is more concerned with the mental and emotional connections, and although Jasmine can bring forth someone who is beautiful, this beauty is often an inner-beauty, a beauty of character, in other words someone who you would find beautiful. This also makes Jasmine a very good incense for spells which are meant to promote friendship.
Lavender – Lavender promotes beauty. It’s a good incense for glamours and lures, and also a good incense for magick intended to actually make one more attractive. It also works well for love spells, spells meant to attract a mate, and it is a good incense to burn during romantic situations. Water associative.
Lotus – Generally associated with mental clarity, increased focus, and heightened intelligence. Because of these properties Lotus is often seen as ideal for meditation. Air associative.
Musk – Musk is Earth associative. It’s a good incense for restoring balance and order, realigning ones energies, sealing portals, creating barriers and protections, and removing the influences of negative magick. It’s also a good incense to burn to Saturn. Musk is also associated with chthonic deities and the underworld. It’s more concerned with underworld energies and accessing the underworld than bringing forth the dead. It’s a good incense to burn for certain underworld entities.
Myrrh – More than anything Myrrh is sun associative. It is often also seen as having a heavenly attribute or being of the gods. It was traditionally used as a funerary incense, but this is derived from its use to elevate one to the heavens or to curry favor with the gods, or to promote a renewal into ones next life as the sun renews itself each day, not because of a chthonic association. Because of its divine attribution, myrrh is often seen as an incense of purification and exorcism, although this has been embellished quite a bit by its prominence in Christian ritual. More than anything Myrrh acts as an amplifier for whatever spell is being performed because of its sun association. It should be noted that due to its divine association, Myrrh is a poor choice for amplifying magic which is done against the will of the gods. Myrrh is a good incense to burn to sun associative gods such as Helios, Apollo, or Ra.
Nag Champa – Nag Champa is a sacred incense (it’s a blend which consists partly of Sandalwood). Nag Champa can be burned for many of the same reasons as Sandalwood. It can be used to sanctify or purify an area. It’s also a good general purpose incense for spiritual matters. This includes acts like meditation and seeking spiritual enlightenment or evolution.
Opium – Opium is dream associative. Opium is a good incense to burn for any spell involving dreaming or sleep in any way, including spells meant to induce lucid dreaming or prophetic dreams. It’s also a good incense to burn to dream and sleep associative deities such as Morpheus.
Patchouli – The strong smell of patchouli makes it ideal for masking the smell of pot, which is its primary usage. It’s considered happy or joy associative, and it tends to attract fae creatures.
Rose – Rose is associative with love, sex, and desire. It’s a good incense to burn to deities that are associated with love, like Venus and Aphrodite. It’s also a good incense for love spells, spells concerned with inciting desire like lures and glamours, and spells that are meant to bring forth your desires.
Sandalwood – Sandalwood is fire and water associative along with being seen as the divine wood. Because of this Sandalwood is a good incense to burn for any deity, and it’s also a good incense to use to purify or sanctify an area.
Vanilla – Vanilla is air associative, and it’s a good general incense to burn to represent the element of air. Specifically vanilla associates with mental thought, intelligence, and all abilities conferred by these things. The incense is a good choice to burn for deities that are typically looked upon as being concerned with intelligence, like Hermes or Thoth.
Incenses and their Elemental attributions
Amber –> Air
Cedarwood –> Fire
Cinnamon –> Fire
Frankincense –> Water
Ginger –> Fire
Jasmine –> Water, to a lesser extent earth.
Lavender –> Water
Lotus –> Air
Musk –> Earth
Myrrh –> Spirit (Akasha)
Nag Champa –> All Five Elements*
Opium –> Air
Patchouli –> Fire & Earth, probably water too.
Rose –> Water, To a lesser extent fire**
Sandalwood –> Fire & Water***
Vanilla –> Air
*Is spirit associative, in the sense that it encompasses all of the four other elements.
**This refers to general or red rose incense. White rose differs in attribution.
***Also seen as spirit associative, in the sense that it is equally water and fire.