Incense is one of my favorite things in the world. I use it daily for a variety of reasons. I use it simply to make my home smell better, or to provide a sense of peace and calmness while I read, pray or meditate.
Of course, that shouldn't be surprising since incense is a traditional and crucial part of many rituals and ceremonies. It has been used for thousands of years, and the use of various types of incense was mainly to create a sense of tranquility in the environment. Different types have different ingredients, which all have different spiritual benefits.
The use of incense is often ritualistic, with ceremonial burning being the most common. Incense sticks are often burned in temples or churches, or in private homes during prayer, meditation or spell work. Other forms are ground incense, where either solid ingredients are rubbed on small pieces of charcoal placed on top of coals so that they can be burnt slowly, or pastilles where small pieces are coated with wax before packaging so they don't stick to each other when they are stored for long periods of time.
Incense in Ancient Cultures
The first Chinese record of burning incense dates back to 500 BC. It was recorded by Guan Pu Zi, who wrote how people burned aromatic woods to drive away "evil spirits" and bring about feelings of reverence and respect. The second mention comes from Zhuangzi (aka Zhuang Zhou), who wrote about burning frankincense as part of his daily ritual.
The use of incense can also be traced back to the early days of Christianity. The first mention of the word "incense" in any language was found in a letter written by Emperor Constantine I to his son, asking him to release half of an imperial estate so that it could be converted into a monastery where, among other things, holy incense could be made.
Native Americans are well-known for their incense. They have been using incense to purify their homes, draw good spirits, and keep bad spirits out for centuries.
Their most common ingredients are sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and other herbs that were native to their lands. Native Americans also used animal byproducts like bones or fat to make their incenses. Some cultures would use things like corn cobs or flowers to make the incenses as well.
Top 6 Incenses for Spiritual Protection
Nag Champa - Nag champa incense is a type of incense composed of flowers and spices. It's made in India and has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. The fragrance is associated with the Hindu god Krishna and his earthly incarnation, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The scent of nag champa is composed of sandalwood, and a variety of flowers and herbs. This has a gentle effect on the mind and provides relief from stress or agitation. It can also help promote sleep or relieve insomnia.
Preferred brand: Brahmas
Coupon code NICOLE20 to get 20% off
Sandalwood - Sandalwood incense is made from the fragrant wood of the sandalwood tree. The tree originates in India and Sri Lanka, but has been introduced elsewhere in Asia, Africa, and Australia. It was planted extensively in the 18th century to provide a source of timber for furniture making.
In addition to being used to purify energy, it also has many medicinal properties for different parts of the body including remedies for colds, headaches, stomach pains, and menstrual pain.
Preferred brand: Brahmas
Coupon code NICOLE20 to get 20% off
Frankincense and Myrrh - You might recognize these two resins, as they are mentioned in the Bible several times, most notably as gifts that the the wise men gave to Jesus.
Matthew 2:1-12 (NKJ)
2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, [wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way."
Frankincense is used as an anointing oil, while Myrrh is used for protection. The two of them together create a very powerful spiritual shield. This combo can also promote focus and relaxation, as well as relieve stress, which makes it the perfect aid when reading, studying, praying or meditating.
Preferred brand: Raajsee
Sage - Sage protects the home from spiritual disturbances and negative energy. It is often burned in smudging ceremonies which are used to cleanse people, objects and spaces from negative energy, evil spirits, curses, spells and hexes.
Often, sage bundles are sold with a feather and an abalone shell. As the sage burns, the abalone shell catches the embers, and a feather is used to fan the smoke into various areas of the home, with a deep emphasis on the corners, as it is believed that corners are where darker energies can cling to or hide in.
While sage smudge sticks are all the rage, I often use regular white sage incense sticks, and they do a wonderful job of clearing the energy of my home. I've also found that the incense sticks smell better that the smudge sticks, as they have a less potent scent to them.
Preferred brand: Raajsee
Bergamot - Bergamot is a type of fruit that has been used for centuries in India, China, and the Mediterranean to provide spiritual protection. In ancient times, bergamot was worn around the neck as a talisman. It was also carved into wooden images and decorated with gold leaf for use in temples and shrines. The Egyptians used it in perfumes and cosmetics to ward off demons.
Preferred brand: N/A. The store that I used to get this from is no longer in business. They carried their own brand, and I've been on the search to find one of equal or greater quality.
Rosemary - Rosemary is a very protective and purifying herb. It wards off negative energy and heals on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels.
Rosemary can be used to cleanse spaces of negative energy. One way you can do this is by burning rosemary on an open flame as an incense or putting it into your bath water as a soak.
Preferred brand: Your own. Rosemary is easy to grow, dry out and roll on your own. If you can't grow your own, you can get fresh or dried Rosemary from a grocery store or from your local nursery.
Using Incense for Spiritual Protection
Now that you’ve chosen an incense, the next step is to decide when and where you will conduct your ceremony. Be sure that you do this in a place that is well ventilated (you don’t want to get smoked out), and it’s best to choose a time when you won’t be disturbed. I like to do my ritual between 6AM and 7AM, when the world is still quiet, making it easier for me to focus on the task at hand.
Set your incense and holder on a sturdy surface. Light it. Sit down in front of it and take three deep breaths to anchor you into your body.
With your attention on the incense, say the following prayer,
Please bless and activate this incense. As its smoke rises through the air, may its scent be pleasing to the gods, goddesses, guides and angels, and all benevolent beings.
As the essence of this incense fills the air, may it make this space holy. May it add an extra layer of protection to these walls, ceiling and floors. May it protect me and all who reside here from anything that would intentionally or unintentionally cause us harm.
May this sweet incense clear away all negativity in this home, and in my own energy field. May it bring forth an energy of love, kindness and compassion to all who live here. Amen.
When you’ve completed the prayer for protection, you may want to…
- Extend your prayer and talk to God about anything else that is on your heart and mind.
- Pull oracle cards for insight or guidance
- Read a spiritual passage
- Read an enlightening book
- Write in your journal
This is YOUR spiritual protection prayer and ritual, so adjust it so that it feels right to you.
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