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My daughter Miranda is my apprentice witch, a very technological one since she also organises my computer. We do not have a large garden in our old fashioned narrow three storey house on the Isle of Wight. But it is filled with herbs, flowers and small trees and these we dry and use to make our own incense.

When I was researching my Ancient Egyptian magic book in Cairo, I was able to visit an incense stall in a bazaar. Because my Egyptian guide knew the owner, I was able to see and handle some of the more precious incenses and bought back incredibly cheaply a big bag of frankincense granules, probably the best resin that you can mix with dried herbs or flowers for incense making at home.

Making your own incense to burn in a heatproof dish on charcoal blocks is remarkably easy and is better than using bought incense when you have time because you can endow it with your own essential power.

You can mix and match your flowers and herbs for exactly the powers you need, for example in a love incense; lavender for gentle love, bay leaves for faithfulness and maybe a sprinkling of saffron or ginger for passion.

You can supplement this partly or entirely with your jars of dried herbs and spices that you have in your kitchen and buy ready dried lavender heads, rose petals and chamomile flowers in old fashioned grocers’ stores, gift shops and some herbalists. On the Isle of Wight there is an old fashioned shop that has jars of cinnamon sticks I crush in incense, chamomile it sells for making tea and all kinds of herbal goodies like dried nettles that I often add for protection.

Picking and drying herbs

Pick herbs the day or days after the full moon and leave them to dry. You can remove the stems after drying.
Collect and dry pine needles, cedar bark chippings and juniper berries.

Dry a bunch of herbs tied upside-down in bundles indoors or out in a sheltered but well ventilated place that is not too cold. I have Perspex over what used to be an old yard and I hang the herbs and old flowers from vases, that have died, from hooks there.

You can also use slatted wooden racks. Traditionally metal was not used either for cutting or drying herbs because of the dislike nature essences have for iron, but in practice metal cake cooling trays are excellent for drying herbs Microwaves can be used in a hurry but micro dried herbs are not so fragrant.
In the summer or fine weather herbs dry very quickly-they should be crumbly if pressed but still fragrant.

Keep the dried herbs in labelled glass jars (cookware ones are excellent with lids or stoppers).

Making and burning your own incense

The Tools:
  • A heatproof dish, preferably with a heatproof lip you can carry it by. Unglazed pottery ones are good, and on sale very cheaply.

  • Be careful with metal dishes as they get hot. But you can buy the kind with a lid and chain to hold, I used to hate those but have now realised you can use them quite safely and it is rather good to be able to use incense outdoors, even if it is windy, by swinging the smoke in the covered censer.

  • You need only a small incense burner and they cost no more than a few pounds from an New age store or on the Internet. The burner is often called a thurible or censer (the kind you swing).

  • Charcoal discs. Charcoal is considered a gift from Mother Earth and was used frequently in the Native North American world. Its colour is a natural absorber of negative energies and as it forms ash so the redundant is transformed into Fire energy.

  • The easiest charcoal to work with initially is an individual disc about the size of a very large coin. This will have an indentation in the centre on which you can scatter your petals or herbs. These are really small and fit on the incense dish. Buy reasonable quality ones and keep the packet sealed so the charcoal does not get damp.

You can also sprinkle a little incense on barbecue coals or any open fire, though not while cooking.

  • Tongs, either metal ones form a hardware store or barbecue ones for holding the charcoal while you light it.

  • Long cook’s matches or a taper lit from a candle are best. You can use a long cigarette lighter if you are careful, but I always burn myself.

  • A small metal spoon for scooping the herbs on to the charcoal. Sometimes you can buy at a garage sale or cookware shop what are called sugar spoons, much smaller than a teaspoon.

The Mixing
  • First mix your herbs and flowers using the meanings below and from elsewhere on the site in a mortar and pestle or bowl.

  • You can choose as many or few herbs as you wish.

  • You must include at least one resin. I sometime use as little as a quarter of the total mix as resin, but the more resin you use the more intensely and longer the mix burns. Experiment with just a resin, say frankincense and then on another occasion just a pure herb, such as rosemary and in between the two you will find the right proportions for you. For this reason too, when in future I suggest mixes, then I will leave you to decide the proportions (see below for resin list)

  • As you mix, chant the purpose of the incense, either faster and faster till you finish with a final call of, for example, Lavender lavender bring me love or with more than one herb in the mix, for example Cinnamon, basil, mint, you herbs three, bring I ask money fast to me.’

If the incense is for healing or to banish or protect when you have mixed and chanted as fast as you can, reduce the chant and speed of mixing till you are still and silent.

  • Light the charcoal disc. The very easiest way to ignite a disc is to light a long cook’s match or taper. Pick up your charcoal in tongs, so it is on its side between the tongs and light over the censer or dish.

  • Light one edge of the charcoal tablet and blow very gently till you see the red glow starting to spread across the charcoal.

  • When the charcoal begins to glow place it in the censer and continue to blow gently if you want to get moving fast. You can whisper the purpose of the incense as just before each blow

  • It is sometimes hard to tell if charcoal is alight initially as it may still look dull, so do not touch it as it will be extremely hot even if it has gone out.

  • The block will slowly turn greyish white-this is white heat .
    Once the charcoal is glowing you can stop blowing and perhaps begin your ritual or simply focus on the purpose you have in mind.

  • When the charcoal is white hot, drop just a little of the mix at first in the centre of the disc, adding grains gradually as part of the ritual.

  • Experiment with open and lidded censers. The latter need less topping up but there is something magical about sitting outdoors with your little open burner against the sunset, chanting or singing softly and adding more herbs as the intensity of the ritual increases.

Herbs, flowers and resins to use
  • Resins include

  • Frankincense

  • Benzoin

  • Myrrh

  • Gum Arabic (acacia)

  • Copal

  • Dragon’s blood

  • Pine resin (called Collophony)


Magic qualities



Money, strength, action


Apple Blossom

Love, fertility, optimism, inner beauty and youthfulness, rituals concerning babies and children



Desire, increase of beauty in self or environment.



Fidelity, prosperity.



Healing, prosperity protection, marriage



Money; increasing mental powers and concentration



Faithfulness in love, betrothals



Strength, healing, family devotion



Healing, cleansing redundant influences and negative thoughts



Money, quiet sleep, affection and family



Spirituality, success, healing, powers, psychic powers, money, love and passion



New love, divinatory abilities



Love, money, repelling hostility, improved memory



Protection, purification, especially good for cleansing crystals



Transitions to a new phase of life, letting go of sorrow


Dragon’s Blood

Love, protection and passion, male potency



An initiator of change, travel and fertility, hidden wealth, maybe in terms of potential 



Wisdom, creativity and creation, fertility, harmony and balance.




Courage, joy, strength and success



Increasing trust, especially after loss or betrayal, belief in for a better tomorrow.


Gum Arabic (Acacia)

Dreams, meditation, psychic protection and development



Passion, fidelity in love, good fortune, maximising opportunities, weather magic, especially rain making 



Money, psychic powers, protection



Overcoming position in love, happiness, desire for reconciliation



For making a love commitment, for healing and all forms of protection, especially from psychic attack



Fidelity, married love, permanent relationships, constancy



Moon magic ,prophetic dreams, sensuality, money, passion



Protection (from psychic attacks and from physical theft, cleansing, healing and house moves.



Love and reconciliation



Repels spite, protection against malice and gossip passion, increases psychic awareness, travel


All domestic matters, acceptance of the frailty of self and others, cleansing negativity, domestic happiness, nostalgia.


Lemon Verbena

Breaking a run of bad luck, love, protection against negativity,


Lily of the Valley

Increases mental abilities, happiness, restoration of joy



Purity, breaking negative influences in love. Mother Goddess magick



Dreams, guarding against infidelity, legal matters, luck, money



Protection, love, prophetic dreams, purification




Good fortune, prosperity, money, permanence whether in job or relationship, Water magic and divination (good for candles on water)



Fertility, healing especially of environment, gradual increase of wealth



Known to the Druids as the All-Healer, for healing sorrows, male potency, overcoming injustice and finding what is lost.



Sometimes mixed with other fragrances, for fidelity in love, marriage, mature love, also matters or property and security



Healing, peace, protection and inner harmony


Orange Blossom

For marriage and permanent relationships, for restoring trust and increasing confidence and hope



Divination, Fertility, making oneself less visible in danger, Luck, Sleep



Healing, fertility, purification, protection, money; returns hostility to sender


Gentle love, attraction, dreams of love, reconciliation



Love, happy memories, improving memory and concentration



Health, enhanced mental powers and wisdom



Spiritual and psychic awareness and healing; sexuality



Innocent love, friendship and happiness.



Love. especially new love and the rebuilding of trust



Courage, divination, health, love, money, purification,



Love, passion, enduring love, increases mental powers



Love, breaks a run of bad luck, money, anti-theft, protects against all negativity


Secrecy, modesty, uncovering hidden talents.


Sandalwood chips are another excellent ingredient and can be bought form New Age stores and on the Internet

Miranda’s gentle love mix

Resin: Frankincense (but you could use gentle myrrh especially if you have been hurt in love)

Chamomile flowers



Rosemary (just a little)

Nettles (just a little for the protection we all need till we are sure)


Cassandra’s faithful love incense

Resin: Frankincense

Bay leaves



Rose petals

Sage (just a tiny bit for wisdom)


Miranda’s Money Mix

Resin: Frankincense




A little mimosa or a few juniper berries


Cassandra’s major financial improvement mix

Resins:  Frankincense and dragon’s blood




Orange blossom or orange rind/honeysuckle


Miranda’s Moon Mix for increased psychic awareness

Resin: Myrrh



Stocks (we had some left from a bouquet)/mimosa

Lemon balm


Cassandra’s Sun Mix for Success and Confidence

Resin: Benzoin

Chamomoile Flowers




One pinch only of cinnamon

Please send us your favourite mixes and if you wish proportions. Miranda and I will keep posting ours.



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