BENZOIN Benzoin can be a little confusing as there are different types, which derive from different trees and countries. Siamese Benzoin comes in the shape of tears or almonds (see below), while regular Benzoin usually comes from Sumatra or India and has the appearance of crumbly chunks that are mostly greyish brown and speckled with white streaks. Benzoin crumbles easily and when burnt does not melt. Instead, it evaporates leaving very little residue. It has an intense, sweet vanilla-like scent, but if burnt alone it can be choking. Benzoin is traditionally used as a base, especially for joss sticks and can be combined with many different herbs and oils for a variety of purposes. It is sacred to Aphrodite, Venus and Mut.
Most commonly Benzoin is associated with love, prosperity, astral travel and shape shifting. Since people first came together to honour the Gods and spirits of nature they used gums, resins and fragrant herbs to bring them closer to the divine beings and to give fragrant wings to their prayers. Every culture has their own sacred herbs that are particular to its region, yet, precious incense herbs and gums have also always been traded far beyond their country of origin.
SACRED HERBS, GUMS AND RESINS
Since people first came together to honour the Gods and spirits of nature they used gums, resins and fragrant herbs to bring them closer to the divine beings and to give fragrant wings to their prayers. Every culture has their own sacred herbs that are particular to its region, yet, precious incense herbs and gums have also always been traded far beyond their country of origin. We offer a selection of these sacred herbs, gums and resins for those who wish to experiment with their own incense blends.
HOW TO BURN INCENSE:
Place a self-igniting charcoal disc on a fire-proof surface, well away from flammable objects. The charcoal disks can be ignited simply by holding a match or lighter to the rim. Be aware that these discs may occasionally spit and sparkle profusely upon ignition. Allow plenty of air to flow around the charcoal to ensure that it burns evenly. Some people prefer to open the window while the charcoal is igniting as it gives off quite a bit of smoke. Once the charcoal disc has finished sparkling it will start to glow, usually first on one side, then slowly spreading over the whole disc. When the entire disc is glowing red hot it is ready to use and you can place a little pinch of incense on top. As the disk glows through, the fire will concentrate in its centre. You may occasionally want to scrape off the ashes to expose the glowing centre and add fresh incense as desired.
CARE FOR YOUR INCENSE:
Incense keeps well and often improves with age if kept in a cool and dark place. Charcoal, on the other hand, does not, as it has a tendency to absorb moisture from the air. Once the packet has been opened, keep it in an airtight container to preserve its self-igniting properties.
Keep incense and charcoal out of pet’s and children’s reach. Charcoal discs are highly flammable. PLEASE BE CAREFUL when igniting your charcoal disc. Once the disc has been lit do not touch it, as it will cause a burn. Make sure your incense dish is fire proof and does not conduct heat to the surface on which it stands. Glass (even glass ashtrays) will break. Do not dispose of the remaining ashes in a waste paper bin or plastic garbage bin as it may cause a fire. Do not hold the disc in your hand while lighting or burning.
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