We were lucky enough recently to spend the weekend in Glastonbury. Whilst we were there we visited the most wonderful shop – Starchild – that was filled with fragrant incense, candles and teas. Not only did the shop smell fantastic, but you could tell that each blend was lovingly created and these were not mass market generic creations. I did buy an Incense blend (pictured above) and a wonderful little clay bowl to burn my Incence in, however it really inspired me to consider making my own blends from some of the dried herbs and plants that I keep. So here are a few tips and ideas I have realised whilst attempting my very first herbal incense blend – inspired by the Starchild shop, who have a great website! http://www.starchild.co.uk/
Something to make fire in – you will need something to burn the Incense in. I have both the little clay pot from Starchild and I am also lucky enough to have a little ‘cauldron’ (pictured). I know they can be very expensive but this was a gift and was an internet purchase, and I believe was reasonably priced. I keep the baby cauldron in my kitchen and place herb twigs (rosemary stalks, stray bay leaves, mint stems etc) in it whilst cooking/spell making to burn next time I use the cauldron – I do love my baby cauldron and would recommend it. Basically though you just need something that won’t crack under heat, don’t use porcelain, an old pestle and mortar might be good. Obviously whichever bit is the bowl bit – is that the Pestle or the Mortar?
Try not to have your neighbours call the Fire Brigade – Loose Incense is so much smokier than I realised! you really need to be outside if you don’t want to smoke the house out.
Sadly BBQ Charcoal will not suffice! You will need something to burn the Incense on, I have been using little charcoal blocks that I bought from Starchild, they were very cheap and easy to get hold of on the Internet. You light them gently on one side and then this little line of sparkling red moves across the block so you know it is fully loaded. It is really quite magical, I do love that bit.
Next make your blend! I have opted to use a good base for my first try, and it seems that you need some kind of resin that will burn well, so I opted for Frankincense, I like the smell of it and it is easy to source.
Be creative and put your energy into in – You can really be creative with this bit, I have kept it simple to begin with but I am looking forward to experimenting.You can use dried fruits, herbs, resins and balsams. I opted for a mix of the below;
- Lavender Flowers (dried), Lemonbalm (dried), crushed and chopped pine tree leaves, Frankinsence.
- I wanted an uplifting blend so I also added a few drops of Bergamot Oil – you can add Essential Oils in moderation – yet to determine the best amount. I was purely judging my smell and feel.
- I then had a root around my garden and added Bay and Rosemary (not dried) for protection and clarity, and then I added one dried and crushed rose head. This Rose had survived all winter and when I looked at it finally about to give up the ghost, it was truly on its last legs, I brought it into the house, dried it for 1-2 weeks and then crushed it up and added to the Incense.
Storage Jars – I do have some kind of weird compulsion to keep all glass jars that ever make their way into my house, so storage jars are not difficult to come by for me. I was lucky that I had kept some very pretty blue glass Neals Yard jars that once had cream or something in them, so I used this for my blend (again pictured) but really any glass jar will do!
By this point, it was smelling pretty lovely so to celebrate Wednesdays New Moon I burnt my blend in my baby cauldron and it was absolutely lovely – if a little smoky! This is definitely something I will be doing again and I am already planning a blend for Ostara. I love the idea that they can be created from plants and herbs that are around you and that they can be made bespoke for any event. I will definitely be introducing more loose incense to my life, so look out for more refined recipes in future hopefully and thank you Starchild – a truly inspiring shop!