Why Loose Incense?
Most standard, store-bought incenses are full of chemicals and ground up in machines at factory warehouses. Then, the resulting powder melange is glued to a stick... not exactly the most magical of generations. The nature of stick incense also means that there will be only one 'scent' and one intensity of that scent while it burns. In contrast, every single batch of our incense is hand ground from all-natural ingredients and essential oils in a consecrated stone mortar and pestle. This is done in a working, sanctified temple space by an occultist with decades of experience, keeping eyes on planetary hours and astrological portents.
Though each incense will have a general 'tone' to it, the scents employed to create said tone can vary widely as different bits of resin and plant material hit the heat and smolder at different speeds. This engenders a complex and layered olfactory experience that evolves and transforms through heat and time.
Burning Incense Using Charcoal
We recommend burning your incense using all-natural charcoal tablets or discs. (Alchemy Works used to sell natural bamboo charcoal, but we've discontinued it beacuase many similar products are easily available). Shoyeido makes a decent all-natural one, as do several other companies in Japan, where incense is both an art and an important spiritual practice. Though all-natural charcoals take longer to light and are a bit more expensive, they don't contain the toxic substances that the quick-light ones do. Once your charcoal is fully lit (the natural ones take about 30 seconds over a candle flame or gas stove) with a good portion glowing red, just sprinkle your loose incense onto the heat and let the magic begin! Be sure not to bury the sides in the sand or ash below the charcoal so that it has plenty of oxygen for combustion.
Loose Incense as Potpourri
All Alchemy Works incenses are also designed as potpourri. If your climate, health or living situation prevent you from burning incense, a bowl of potpourri can still help to sanctify and freshen your living space, shrine or altar. An incense warmer (either a candle version or the electric kind with adjustable heat) is another great option to release the fragrant potency of the incense without generating smoke. I personally also like to keep a small mortar and pestle filled with incense/potpourri offerings in certain shrines, and give them a fresh grind before or during meditation or devotional practices.
Additionally, the nature of loose incense allows one to also use it for strewed offerings or as an additional layer to candle dressing. After applying a sacred oil to a spell candle, roll it in a thin layer of incense to coat and charge the candle with extra potency.
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