Burning Resins as Incense

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When you live in the mountains, snow means everything comes to a stop. Schools close, people stay home, everything is quiet. The best thing to do is gaze out your window and watch the woods turn white.

Normally, a snow day this late in the winter might induce a psychotic case of cabin fever in me, but considering how mild the winter has been and how little snow we’ve seen, I didn’t really mind.

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On snowy or rainy days, I love to light a few candles. The warmth of the flames seems to balance the cold, unforgiving weather outside. It makes me feel grateful to have a roof over my head and someplace dry and safe to be.

Sometimes, I also like to burn resin in a charcoal round. Although they smoke a lot more than incense sticks or cones, they really look beautiful when they burn, plus most of them have a strong, lovely scent.

One of my favorites is Frankincense. It’s collected by making deep slashes in the frankincense tree so that the sap runs out and hardens into ‘tears’. The Egyptians used it in a bunch of stuff; cosmetics, perfumes, even as…an embalming agent. Some cultures believe frankincense can increase one’s ability to communicate with the creator.

Frankincense resin is said to open up the spirit and bring you closer to God.
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I also really like Dragon’s Blood, which comes from the Daemonorops draco tree (rattan palm). How cool is that? In my opinion, dragon’s blood produces the best scent of all the resins – it’s sort of spicy-sweet. Dragon’s blood is typically just burned as an incense, but, so I’ve heard, it’s often incorporated in magic rituals. It can bring protection, aid a broken heart, or ward off bad energy. Sometimes, it is used in dark magic. As is often the case with this sort of thing, the intention is what matters when burning dragon’s blood.

Dragon's Blood

To burn the resins, simply put a chunk in the center of a charcoal round. Lighting the round is part of the fun; hold a flame to it for a moment, and soon little sparks will begin to move through the charcoal and the resin will start to smoke and bubble.

SPARK ACTION!!
SPARK ACTION!!

The round can get really hot, so I recommend putting it on a plate or heat resistant surface. I burn mine on piece of slate that had come lose from the wall in my backyard – I think it looks really cool, like a little altar.

In a minute or so, the resins will start to smoke and fill the air with fragrance.

Frankincense is suuuper smoky.
Frankincense is suuuper smoky. You might need to open a window…

The Dragon’s Blood looks especially cool when it’s burning, sort of like…the beating heart of a dragon.

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You can typically find resins and charcoal rounds in herb, tea, and witchcraft shops. I found my last batch of resins in a little out-of-the-way store when I was visiting Bethlehem, PA. If you can’t find any locally, another great place to get them is from Mountain Rose Herbs.

I hope you enjoy your next rainy day, and that you’ll give burning resins a try.

Ta for now!

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