Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Making Combustible Incense

Basic Materials Needed:

*powdered wood (sandalwood, red sandalwood, cedar, etc.)
*benzoin sumatra resin
*orris root
*gum tragacanth (gum arabic can be substituted, but about twice as much arabic as tragacanth will be needed and drying time will be longer)
*salt petre/potassiun nitrate
*water, spring or distilled
*fragrant material (herbs and/or oils, resins not recommended)
*two bowls, one for water and one for mixing
*a stirring implement
*mortar and pestle, coffee mill or grain mill (for grinding ingredients to a fine powder)
*measuring spoons
*small kitchen scale
*wood or bamboo sticks (for stick incense)


Step 1
Grind ingredients (if not already powdered) into as fine a powder as possible.

Step 2
Mix together base ingredients.

6 parts wood
2 parts benzoin sumatra
1 part orris root

Add 3-5 parts of fragrant herb incense scent mixture you want to use (prepared from recipe of choice) to the base.

Step 3
Add gum tragacanth to the base mixture. You will want between 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of tragacanth per 2 teaspoons of incense mixture.

Step 4
Weigh incense mixture on the scale. Measure out 10% by weight of potassium nitrate. An approximation:

One Tablespoon of potassium nitrate powder weighs about 20 grams
1/2 Tablespoon of potassium nitrate weighs about 10 grams
One Teaspoon of potassium nitrate weighs a little more than 6 1/2 grams
1/2 Teaspoon of potassium nitrate weighs a little more than 3 1/4 grams
1/4 teaspoon of potassium nitrate weighs a little more than 1 1/2 grams
1/8 teaspoon of potassium nitrate weighs a little more than 3/4 grams
So, if you have 20 grams of base, set aside 2 grams of potassium nitrate; if you have 10 grams use 1 gram, etc.

Step 5
Take 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of water for every 3 teaspoons of incense mixture and place water in a bowl. Disolve the potassium nitrate in the water completely.

Step 6* (cones)
Add the water and potassium nitrate solution to dry ingredients. Add any oils you plan to use at this time. 5-10 drops, combined, should be more than enough. Mix the ingredients into a sticky dough (it is best to do this with your hands).

Step 7 (cones)
To make cones, simply take small potions of the incense dough and shape it -- take care that you do not make the cones too thick. Be sure to press the bottom of each cone down onto a flat surface to ensure it will stand.

Step 6* (sticks)
To make stick incense, instead of adding your solution to the dry ingredients, add any oils (5-10 drops combined) to dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 7 (sticks)
Take your sticks and dip them, one at a time, into the water solution and then roll them in the dry ingredients so that the incense adheres to the stick. Set each stick aside to dry for 5-10 minutes (stand them upright by sticking in a ball of clay), then repeat the procedure until the stick achieve the desired thickness.

Step 8
Allow incense to dry. Sticks will most likely dry overnight, but may need to dry longer. Cones will take at least overnight, 24 hours or so is recommended. If after 24 hours they are not dry, something went wrong. You can easily tell when sticks are dry... generally touching them will tell you. Cones however, may be dry on the outside and still be wet inside. To tell if a cone is dry, squeeze the largest end lightly in your fingers. If it holds its shape, it should be dry. It the incense crumbles, you can test to see if it is dry and you will know that next time you want to add more Gum Tragacanth to your mixture.

Recipe/Procedure Source: Buddhamind

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cauldron Of Creation Incense

ג' בתשרי תשס"ח

My newest original incense recipe, Cauldron Of Creation:

5 parts frankincense
5 parts myrrh
3 parts white willow bark
2 parts dandelion root
2 parts orris root
2 parts damiana
1 part lotus root
1 part galangal root
1 part whole ground pomegranate
1 part mullein
1 part broom
1 part heal all
1 part balm of gilead
1/2 part lobelia
1/2 part acacia
1/2 part saffron

per ounce of dry ingredients:
5 drops mugwort oil
5 drops dragon's blood
1 drop hyssop
1 drop sandalwood
1 drop cinnamon bark
1 drop Feminine Clarity

Compound in a black vessel on the night of the Dark Moon, preferably in autumn or winter. Store in a warm place (like a herb cupboard) in an airtight dark jar for 28 days to 3 months prior to consecrating and using ritually.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Medicinal Hawthorne Berries

כ"ה באלול תשס"ז

I'm seeing red everywhere today - red berries, that is.

From Herbal Extracts Plus, on the cardiotonic effects of red Hawthorne berries:

Hawthorne Berry is a wonderful and trusted cardiac tonic that is used to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and significantly enhance blood circulation to the heart and brain. It is used to strengthen the heart and relieve angina, myocarditis (inflamed heart) and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

Hawthorne Berry is an excellent cardio-tonic that supports good heart health and protects it in a variety of ways. It is thought to be especially effective in the beginning stages of heart disease, as well as speeding up the recovery time after a heart attack. It is also believed to strengthen a weak heart muscle associated with age, relieve pressure and tightness of the chest, ease angina and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), as well as mild cardiac arrhythmia. The bioflavonoids found in Hawthorne interact with key enzymes in the heart to increase the pumping force of the heart muscle and eliminate arrhythmia. Hawthorne is also characterized as having positive inotropic (affecting muscle contraction) effects leading to an increase in heart rate. Although the Commission E no longer recognizes this use (due only to lack of clinical studies), Hawthorn Berry preparations have traditionally been shown to combat angina, a condition resulting from insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle.

Good heart health is further supported by Hawthorne's rich flavonoids, which are thought to dilate and open up the blood vessels (as a vasodilator), allowing oxygen-rich blood to get to the heart and reduce the risk of a heart attack. It is thought that Hawthorne causes direct dilation of smooth muscle in coronary vessels thereby lowering their resistance and increasing blood flow.

Hawthorne berries are also useful for the treatment of arthritis, osteoporosis, ADD (attention deficit disorder), insomnia, nervous tension, and some cancers, including leukemia and Burkitt's lymphoma.

See link for more information and contraindications for use.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

My Bone China Ritual Plate

י"ח באלול תשס"ז

It was waiting for me, just for me, to buy it. It was the only one the seller had and I bought it.

My bone china ritual plate is a Mikasa bone china "White Silk" soup plate, so ritual water can be poured into it to dissolve the words and letters of a petition spell. The petition potion can then be drunk directly from my bone plate.

Ingestable Blackberry Ink

י"ח באלול תשס"ז

For spells (like the biblical Sotah ritual, for example) requiring ink ingestion, a recipe for blackberry [1] ink:

1/2 cup ripe blackberries crushed through a strainer
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt

Refrigerate unused portion when not in use.


[1] blackberry correspondences - feminine (gender), venus (planet), water (element), healing/money/protection (powers), Brigit (archetype)

Scribal Ink Base

י"ח באלול תשס"ז

As an alternative to archival black India ink as a base for my original Temple Pathways scribal ink recipe, for spellwork I am going to handmake my own black ink base as well. The black ink base takes some time to prepare, so in the meantime I will use the one made with an India ink base.

Here is a basic sofrut ink recipe modified from here:

3 grams gum arabic
3 grams ground gallnuts (source of tannic acid)
1 gram kankantum (vitriol - i.e. iron or copper sulphate)
1/8 liter distilled water
1/8 liter blackberry Manischewitz wine

To the above recipe, I'll add:

tsp. of vinegar (helps retain color, magickal healing property)
tsp. of salt (inhibits mold growth)
tsp. ground pomegranate rind (another source for tannic acid)
remaining ingredients as described in Temple Pathways ink recipe

crush, cook over open flame to residue, strain, wait 6 months

Some other basic ink recipes:

How To Make Ink
Ink Recipes 1
Ink Recipes 2
Ink Recipes 3
Ink Recipes 4
Ink Recipes 5
Ink Recipes 6 - bizzare, interesting recipe
Ink Recipes 7 - from the sixteenth century Booke of Secrets
Ink Recipes 8 - from the sixteenth century book, The Arte of Limming