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Incense question...

To: alt.magick,alt.lucky.w
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Incense question...
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 17:44:03 GMT

John M. Hansen wrote:
> "Greg Wotton"  wrote:
> > "catherine yronwode"  wrote :
> > > JudeoMoorKrav18 wrote:
> > > >
> > > > I've been having a hard time trying to find the following
> > > >  incense, any help is appreciated:

Thank you. 
> > > > Peat,
> > >  I have not ever heard of this being used as an incense. It is
> > >  the compressed vegetable matter in bogs.
> Peat is used in some earth religious practices.  Particularly
> desired is very old Peat.  The best place to get it is from those
> who dig it from bogs in England or Ireland.  It is only rarely sold,
> and is not a regular incense item.
> > And it is easily obtainable from any nursery or hardware/gardening
> > store.
> What they sell is Peat Moss, which is not the same as peat,
> although it has similar properties.

I agree, John, that mystically speaking true peat carved from a bog
would what one wanted for a "neo-neolithic" rite. Those little
compressed peat seedling-starter pots, if crumbled, would make a decent
carrier and burning stratum for incense, albeit a bit smelly. 

> > > > Benzoin
> > >
> > > This is the resin (dried sap) of a Middle Eastern shrub. I sell
> > > it for $2.00 per package. It must be burned on a bed of charcoal. 
> > > It is also available as a very thick essential oil into which 
> > > one can dip prepared incense sticks  to scent them or it can be 
> > > blended with raw powdered incense made from sawdust and saltpeter 
> > > to make either loose powder incense or, with the addition of gum 
> > > Arabic, pressed cone incense. .
> >
> > Sounds very much like Olibanum/Frankincense. If this is so then I
> > am lead to believe that JudeoMoorKrav is trying to make their own 
> > incense and that the peat would be the carrier for the scents to be 
> > mixed with for burning. Just a theory though based on the list.
> Olibanum / Frankincense are also gum resins, like Benzoin and
> Myrrh.  Olibanum is very light in color, the best grade is almost
> clear with a yellowish cast to it.  Frankincense ranges form yellow
> to almost a dark orange.  Olibanum is technically a grade of
> Frankincense, not a separate material.  According to the ritual of
> the Roman Catholic Church, Incense used in church services must be
> 51% Frankincense.

Further, Frankincence has a hard, stable structure that could be
descried as plastic in the chemical sense, and it takes the form of
uniform grains, about the size of rice or wheat grains, called
"Franckincense tears."  

>     Benzoin comes from a different tree, and is sold in chunks,
> small pieces, or as a fine powder.  It is very much used in Eastern
> Orthodox religious practices.  It has the effect of raising the non
> physical vibrations of the place it is burned.   It has an entirely
> different effect than Frankincense.

Benzoin is a greyish-tannish-brownish colour. It has a far less
self-adhesive or plastic quality than does Frankincense, and so it
either takes the form of large frangible lumps or it crumbles into fine

The third resin in this group of Middle Eastern resin incenses is Myrrh,
which is a rich, dark brown, forms large, semi-self-adherent coal-like
lumps, and very resistant to breaking into small grains or powder. Myrrh
has an opiod in it and ingesting the powder itself (not the fumes of the
burned incense) -- for instance, while breaking the large lumps down in
to packageable chunklets for resale  in a closed room without
ventilation -- will result in a distinctly psychoactive experience of
the typical opiod type, with the added oddity of a weird "taste/smell"
at the back of the throat that, once experienced, will never be

Three other resin inceses are worth noting here as well: they are -- 

* Dragon's Blood, a dark red resin from the Dracena palm of the Middle
East and India, which has the most cohesive plasticity of all the resins
and thus is often evaporated in bread-pans and reaches suppliers in
bread-pan shaped pieces which are then fractured into concoidal chunks;
it has the unique property of bubbling and boiling as it burns, hence
the name Dragon's Blood; 

* Copal Oro, the whitish-yellowish resin of a Central American relative
of Frankincense with similar fragrance and physical properties,
including colour and grain structure, which is used in Mayan-Catholic
rituals, especially those held in Catholic churches; and 

* Copal Negro, the dark brown resin of a native Central American tree
unrelated to any of the above species of resin-producing trees and
shrubs, which has a low melting point and fairly high plasticity and is 
therefore formed by hand into baseball-sized sphreres which are
customarily burned on a bed of charcoal for outdoor Mayan rites. 

>     An excellent book concerning Incense and Incense making is
> Steven R. Smith's  _Wylundt's Book of Incense_  published by Samuel
> Weiser in 1989.

Yes, a very good book! 
cat yronwode 

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