Incense: Not Just For Hippies Anymore

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Incense has been around for centuries. It started out as burning resin or throwing different stuff into a fire pit. Now it can be found in head shops, record stores and dollar stores everywhere. Incense comes in cones, sticks and resin. I prefer to use incense sticks just because that is the most common, easy to use and affordable type for me.

Many people use incense for healing, to rid an area of negative energy, to mask bad odors, and for religious, meditative, yoga and spiritual purposes. “Other benefits ascribed to the burning of incense included the purification of an area, to change a mood and to cleanse and disinfect living spaces, especially after pollution caused by, for instance, death or illness” (source).

My favorite scent is nag champa. Champa is a flower native to India. Most nag champa incense is a mixture of the champa flower, geranium, vanilla and sandalwood. Nag champa incense burns slowly and is very fragrant. When choosing quality incense, first check the fragrance, then check the quality of the stick, cone, or resin. You want to make sure the product is uniform and does not crumble or break.  Quality incense burns for about 30-45 minutes.

I purchase lower quality “dollar store” incense for less important jobs like getting rid of odors or for the purpose of fragrance only. (It’s commonly used to mask the distinct odor of marijuana.  I know.  I know.) I don’t suggest using low-quality incense all the time, it is full of chemicals, alcohol and perfumes, but sometimes it just does the job. I don’t use this incense for my spiritual practice. My favorite place to keep this type of incense? You guessed it: the bathroom.

Always remember safety first. Never burn incense unattended. Don’t burn it near flammable objects. Keep pets and children out of the area where incense is burning. Be responsible and you will have a wonderful way to enjoy your meditation time or a new type of fragrance for your space.

Incense is a wonderful, versatile tool for spiritual work and for daily use. It’s not just for hippies and head shops anymore!

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