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Incense

Post  spokane89 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:12 am

I've finally added incense to my daily worship process! Just a few mild things I'm still trying to figure out however. The Orphic hymns quite conveniently state what incense to burn in prayer to specific Gods, but it's not always very clear, like calling for aromatic herbs. Isn't that what incense is anyways? And for the life of me I can't find anywhere in town that sells incense of storax. And also came to the topic of libanomancy, is/was there a place for this in Hellenismos?
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Re: Incense

Post  Erodius on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:55 am

Yes. When the Hymns reference 'aromatics' or 'aromatic herbs' they are referring to any kind of fragrant herb. Usually, this would mean rosemary, thyme, basil, garden sage, or juniper.


Western storax is difficult to find and also expensive because it is rarely produced anymore. However, Asian storax, which is often sold as 'benzoin' is often available (including online, where I purchase it). It smells a lot like frankincense, but is somewhat less sweet and more spicy.

If you can learn libanomancy from a reputable source (probably other than the 'Idiots Guide to Divination' if that exists), and you can also demonstrate that it is efficacious, then I think it is fine — otherwise, one is just fooling himself with superstitious games of resin and smoke.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Incense

Post  Lisa on Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:53 pm

I've always used Myrrh or Frankincense
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Re: Incense

Post  J_Agathokles on Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:31 pm

I believe I read somewhere that were not even actually sure what ancient storax actually was. It's often assumed that it is the plant Liquidambar orientalis, or it is the same as what Ερωδιός called Asian storax or benzoin. I myself have been using benzoin for storax. I also was unsure about the "aromatic herbs" thing, so I substituted with myrrh usually. And when I didn't have benzoin, I'd use frankincense in it's place. And vice versa.

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Re: Incense

Post  Callisto on Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:13 pm

I don't know if there is a source (reputable or otherwise) regarding libanomancy as practiced by the Greeks. The practice itself is said to have come from the Babylonians but I don't think there's much to go on other than general references from ancient texts. There are comparable forms of divination, capnomancy is also divination by smoke (through the burning of seeds or wood), and there's pyromancy. You could research these practices as well and employ them while using incense and see what results you get.

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Re: Incense

Post  Anniemal on Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:47 pm

I am not to far into practice yet, so for incense I use whatever I can get hold of and that smells good. I believe whatever that is will please the gods.

So I use herbs, wood, foliage, resin, oil and sticks with lamps, candles, firepits, tripods, etc.
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Re: Incense

Post  Erodius on Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:04 pm

Anniemal wrote:I am not to far into practice yet, so for incense I use whatever I can get hold of and that smells good. I believe whatever that is will please the gods.

So I use herbs, wood, foliage, resin, oil and sticks with lamps, candles, firepits, tripods, etc.


The purpose of incense isn't simply to scent a room with a smell that you yourself find personally appealing — it is an offering to god; it should not be so much a question of what the individual fancies.

That said, all of the appropriate incense varieties smell lovely, and they are all (frankincense, myrrh, storax-benzoin, cedar, cistus, etc.) available quite easily from online retailers like Amazon in a variety of forms to suit your means — cones, sticks, resin, oil etc.

On a side note, a large majority of non-traditional incenses (by which I mean, types of incense that have 'titles' — i.e. 'Spring Mist', 'Seashore', 'Caribbean Market', all of which are available at my local supermarket) are made with highly toxic ingredients, artificial dyes and colorings, and chemical scents, and other proven carcinogens, and really should be avoided if only for health risks to people and animals.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Incense

Post  Camable on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:39 pm

I like to use a Japanese incense called Morning Star. You can do a Google search for their homepage and it's also sold on Amazon. I don't think people realize that a lot of Indian incense uses cow dung as a binder and to help increase the burning time. Now, the cow is sacred in India and that's all well and good, but I don't want to set cow dung on fire inside my house, much less offer it to gods. Japanese incense uses purer ingredients, which is good for everyone involved.

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Re: Incense

Post  Erodius on Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:09 pm

Morning Star is made by Nippon Kodo — a company with centuries of traditional incense-making experience in Japan. Their incense is very, very high quality and very famous. Unfortunately, however, they do not, as far as I know, sell incense in the traditional varieties used in religious worship.

Outdoors, I use the pure, straight resin (charcoal burned incense is too smoky for indoor use unless you are in a large and well-ventilated space — like a whole church sanctuary. Indoors, I use refined oils, either straight or blended with a base (in the case of natural myrrh oil, for instance, which reduces to an irremovable brown gum coating the tripod or oil-sublimator if you do not dilute it with a non-subliming base oil first).

Now, the cow is sacred in India and that's all well and good, but I don't want to set cow dung on fire inside my house, much less offer it to gods.

Cow dung is actually very clean burning, and, if it is from India, will likely be very pure — the cows having been fed on suitable and naturally bovine diets of grass.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Incense

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