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Self Burning Incense

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:11 pm
Author: Helen
So, just a little bit to start with about making self-burning incense. That's the cones and sticks you make yourself which stay alight once lit, rather than needing a charcoal block under them.

The key to these is that they must contain an ingredient which is sticky during the making process, to bind all the ingredients together, and enough wood ingredients to keep combustion going when you've lit you're product.

In his book, Carl Neal lists four possible binders:
Gum Arabic
Gum Tragacanth
Guar Gum
Makko (also known as 'tabu)

My favourite of these, and honestly the only one I've used so far, is Makko. The reason I like it is as well as being sticky when wet with water, so acting as a binder, it is also a wood (virtually odourless) so it really helps the burning of the incense. So both required jobs in one ingredient.
Disadvantage is I haven't found it in the UK yet, and had to buy some in from US, but I got several things at once to make the postage worthwhile, and it's been a great ingredient.

The other thing to note before thinking of making cones or other shapes is that all the ingredients have to be ground very fine. These products don't work if you've got lumps of stuff in the mix, they go out. So if you're grinding by hand you need to put in lots of work.

I really would recommend you read Carl F. Neal's "Incense - crafting and Use of Magical Scents" if you want to have a go at these as there's more to consider than with loose mixes, and more experimentation might be required. It's not technically difficult though, to do think about trying it.

Re: Self Burning Incense

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:21 pm
Author: Helen
Self-burning Juniper incense cones

Just to give you an idea of what these recipes look like, here was my first attempt at a self-buring incense. I wanted to use juniper, it's main property being 'protection' according to Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, where he also writes it may have been one of the earliest incenses used by Mediterranean witches.

Makko 4 teaspoons
Juniper tips 2 teaspoons
Juniper Berries 2 teaspoons

water as required to mix

Add the water slowly; you get something that looks a bit like dog poo (sorry) with the texture of play dough, but smells better than either LOL. Mix it well, form it into cones or try rolling into very thin sticks, leave them all to dry.

That's the very basic idea, and this mix burnt well but didn't have quite the Juniper 'ping' I was after so will tweak the recipe next time I make it.