Incense Alternatives and How to Use Them

Right or wrong- and the jury’s out depending on who you ask- we’re all relatively familiar with the use of fragrant smoke in magical work, yes? Whether the phrase calls to mind clouds of white sage smoke, the sweet uplifting scent of frankincense, or the ridiculous pile of department store incense sticks that we may or may not have stored in our tool chest….

OK I definitely have a stash of department store incense. It’s cheap and it smells nice. Sometimes.

But what if fragrant smoke isn’t an option?

I remember living in an apartment where the smoke alarm went off for every pot of boiling water because it couldn’t tell the difference between tiny amounts of steam and an actual fire. I also remember being in a situation where my roommate was allergic to most incense binders and I had to use something else. Maybe fire and air just don’t work for you like other elements do. Maybe you just don’t want to. Whatever the reason, it’s good to have alternatives.

I’m a very sound-oriented person. My voice is my most potent magical tool and the use of sacred sound- be it galdr or chant or something else- is very important to my work. I’m a very air and fire person so this works for me.

An acquaintance of mine was have a real struggle with finding a way to cleanse and bless her space. She couldn’t burn incense in her living arrangement and just didn’t have the connection to air as an element to make sound work. She never felt great results from chants or bells. So we hit on the idea of making a water based version of the same tool. Enter the room spray.

I created my original three room sprays after much trial and error and abuse of my own sense of smell. I knew there were at least three very specific tasks for which I employed incense regularly- cleansing a space, blessing an item or action, and during meditation. I also knew that I wanted to avoid white sage. It’s a beautiful plant with amazing energy and properties but I wanted to use something else.

“Cleanse” uses Rosemary and Hyssop essential oils in a diluted clear alcohol carrier. Rosemary and Hyssop are both powerful purification herbs with long histories in Europe. The resulting smell is bright and clean but not overly strong. CAUTION: Hyssop oil may be extremely irritating to both cats and dogs.

“Sacred” uses the ancient sacred resins Frankincense and Myrrh- sanctifying, blessing, purifying, rooting and uplifting. The essential oils of each are in a diluted alcohol carrier and, as with most sprays, are not as strongly scented as the resin itself would be.

“Meditate” is a soothing combination of Lavender and Sweet Orange in a diluted alcohol carrier. Lavender is widely used to soothe the mind and Sweet Orange is used as a spiritually uplifting scent. The combination can be helpful before meditation.

I am currently working on a much requested Success/Money spray which will be available as soon as I work out the right proportions of each oil.

Now these oils do separate from the carrier over time so shaking before use is necessary. Sprays in general are not as strongly scented as their fumitory counterparts but since the strength of an incense can be problematic especially in closed spaces, that’s just one more reason to consider imbued sprays as an alternative. They work best when sprayed generously into the center of a room or well above an item that you intend to bless. Be aware that these sprays use diluted alcohol as a carrier for the essential oils and that both alcohol and some essential oils can damage some surfaces.

All three of the currently available sprays are live in the Store. The Success spray will be listed as soon as it is finished so keep checking back!