There are many different reasons why people choose to burn incense. The most basic reason is simply to bring a pleasant scent into your home. This can mask bad odors and create ambient energy that is ideal for reducing stress, meditation, yoga, prayer, and more.
Incense also often plays an important role in witchcraft and other ritual practices. It can be part of forming the sacred space for conducting rituals and is often used to represent the element of air. It can also play an important role in specific rituals.
- Incense is often used to cleanse negative energy or invite specific energy into a space.
- It can be used to enhance psychic abilities as part of divination practices.
- Burning incense is often part of rituals to thin the veils between the worlds.
- Incense is used as a channeling and grounding substance in shadow and inner work.
- It is often an essential ingredient in spells for protection and good fortune.
Read on as we take you through the different types of incense, from sticks to cones to natural, and some of the most popular fragrances and what they are often used for in Wiccan and occult practices. Many of the items described in this article are available in our shop.
Different Types of Incense - Burners
Incense sticks are made when the fragrance is mixed with a resin that can be used to create a sticky substance that can be polled onto long, thin sticks, usually made from bamboo. The benefit of incense sticks is that the stick burns evenly over a predictable period, which creates a mild but constant fragrance.
Standard sticks are around 14cm long and will burn for 20 to 30 minutes, but you do also get longer and shorter sticks.
Incense sticks will usually be placed on a small plate with a hole just the right size for the fragrance-free end of the incense stick. You can then light the other end on fire, and once the tip is red hot, blow it out. Your incense will burn away, and the small plate will catch the ash.
Incense cones are made in the same way as sticks, with fragrance mixed with flammable material and modeled into cones. But when you light a cone, they burn quickly and intensely, releasing a big scent into a space. A cone will usually burn out within ten minutes.
An incense cone can be placed on a small plate, and the top of the cone is lit so that the plate will catch the ash. You can place a layer of sand, salt, or uncooked rice on the bottom of the bowl under the cone to help absorb the heat from the cone. They also tend to produce more smoke.
Backflow Incense Cones
If you want to create an atmospheric smoky environment in your space, you can use backflow incense cones and burners, which are also sometimes called incense fountains or waterfall incense burners.
These incense cones have a slightly different design, with a small hole in the bottom of the cone, which has a hollow center. This encourages the smoke to escape downwards through the cone rather than upwards into the air. The smoke also becomes thicker as it has a chance to cool a little inside the cone before being released.
Coil incense is again a lot like incense sticks, except that the fragrant resin is shaped into a coil that is thicker and longer than the stick. This means that the coil will burn for much longer, usually around two hours. Incense for driving away mosquitoes and other insects are usually coils, but you can find coil incense of all varieties.
It is important to place coil incense in a large, flat bowl or burner that is larger than the coil itself to catch all the ash and prevent accidental fires.
Powder incense is made from the same aromatic plants and woods, but it is not mixed with resins or other substances to form structures. Instead, you throw power incense directly onto hot coals, which should be burning in a brazier appropriate to their heat.
Make sure that the charcoal is already hot before applying the incense, or it can burn out without you appreciating the scent. The scent will probably only last 10-15 minutes, though of course the charcoal will stay hot for much longer.
You also get natural incense, which is simply made from bundling tightly together fragrant herbs and woods such as Sandalwood, Rosemary, and Rue. These can then be lit to release their natural fragrance.
These aren’t mixed with the same flammable resins. This means that they don’t tend to stay alight on their own for extended periods. As a result, you need to hold them and waft them around your space, as the movement through the air will help keep them alight, and then relight them as needed.
Different Types of Incense – Fragrances
There are many different incense fragrances, and different names are used depending on the culture, and the brand, but below is a list of some of the most common and their uses.
- 7 Chakras – personal alignment, balance, and unblocking energy
- Acacia – stimulate psychic powers
- Basil – protects against evil and exorcises negative energy
- Cardamom – mental clarity
- Cedar – purification and healing
- Cedarwood – healing and purification
- Chamomile – harmony, peace, and balance
- Cinnamon – protection ad to attract prosperity
- Citronella – cleansing and healing
- Clove – dispel negativity
- Coconut – protection
- Coffee – divination
- Cypress – strength and confidence
- Eucalyptus – healing, purification, and protection
- Frankincense – purify magical spaces and consecration
- Galangal – break curses
- Gardenia – peace and love
- Ginseng – protection against evil
- Green Tea – alertness and spiritual harmony
- Heather – conjure beneficial spirits
- Honeysuckle – attract wealth and friendship
- Jasmine – attract love and wealth
- Juniper – enhance psychic abilities and break hexes
- Lavender – induce rest and attract love
- Lemongrass – mental clarity
- Mint – aphrodisiac and conjure beneficial spirits
- Musk – aphrodisiac and courage
- Myrrh – purification and consecration
- Nutmeg – aid meditation and attract prosperity
- Orange – divination, love, luck, and wealth
- Opium – ludic dreaming and speaking to the gods
- Palo Santo – energetic protection
- Patchouli – love, wealth, and mastery
- Peppermint – energy and healing
- Pine – banish negative energy and purification
- Poppy Seeds – fertility and love
- Rose – induce prophetic dreams and love enchantments
- Rosemary – purification, healing, preserve youthfulness
- Rue – restore health
- Sage – protection against evil and purification
- Sandalwood – exorcise demons and ghosts and promote spiritual awareness
- Thyme – purify magic spaces and healing
- Vanilla – attract love, aphrodisiac, and mental clarity
- Vervain – exorcise evil spirits
- Violet – wisdom and luck
- Wormwood – stimulate psychic powers
- Ylang Ylang – love, harmony and euphoria