The “smells and bells” of Samhain enhance any working and celebration. Incense is a staple of this Sabbat and can be used in a variety of ways, from serving as a veiling for ancestor communion to calling to presence the Deities you wish to witness and bless your activities. For those who are sensitive to the smoke emitted from incense, oils can be used in their place, either heated over a small tea light or in a roller version and applied directly (fragrance or carrier enhanced only. NEVER apply an essential oil directly to the skin as these are potent and allergic reactions or skin sensitivities are likely) to the skin.
Check out this helpful article to get you started:
Incense 101: How to Make and Use Your Own Incense
Some Basic Ingredients:
For Remembrance: you can use Rosemary
For Purification: you can use Sage and Salt
For Protection: you can use Marigold, Pepper, Cinnamon, Wormwood
To Honor the Earth: Patchouli and Pine.
To Honor the Ancestors: Marigold and Mums
For Wisdom: Sage
To Honor the Final Harvest and Fall: Apple and Apple leaves
For Psychic Opening: Mugwort, Bay and Bay leaves
These are listed as “parts” meaning that you should begin by determining what increment of measurement will be. If you are making a small portion for personal use, I would suggest using 1/4 tsp. = 1 part. IF you are making a larger batch for group work or to store for other use; 1/2 tsp. = 1 part.
From Scott Cunningham; Incense and Brews:
Sandalwood: 2 parts
Orange Peel: 1 part
Mace: 1 part
Cinnamon: 1 pinch
From unknown source:
Frankincense: 1/2 part
Myrrh: 1/4 part
Bay: 1/2 part
Vervain: 1/4 part
Wormwood: 1/4 part
Patchouli: 1/4 part
Sandalwood: 1/22 part
From Unknown source:
Dittany: 1 part
Pine: 1/2 part
Sandalwood: 1 part
Patchouli: 1/4 part
Benzoin: 1/4 part
Pine Oil: a few drops
From Unknown source:
Dittany: 1 1/2 part
Benzoin: 1/2 part
Patchouli: 1 part
This is a recipe I like to make for my personal Samhain workings
1 part dried mugwort
2 parts frankincense resin
2 parts myrrh resin
2 bay leaves crumbled
1 part orange peel
As I add each ingredient into the pestle, I offer up thanks to the sacrifice of the herb or resin and call into presence the energy that I wish to have as part of the whole. Use the mortar to press and break apart the resins and herbs, combining each one at a time. When all is complete, I breathe (very) gently across the bowl infusing it with my own breath of creation and purpose. I usually burn a small portion then and there, offering it to my patrons and then place the remainder in storage for Samhain’s use.
*I usually make a slightly larger batch and use it as a base for future ancestor or psychic work, adding what is necessary for each. Store in an airtight, clamp lid or mason jar container in a dark place. This will preserve the integrity of the herbs and resins.
Most of the ingredients in the recipes above are available as essential and/or fragrance oils. The benefits of purchasing an essential oil are that you will generally use less of it, it can be placed over a tealight for heating and you also have the raw ingredients for creating your recipes by combining the oils either in raw form for heating or with a carrier such as almond, sesame or jojoba for body application.
Depending on the oil you select the essential oils should vary in price in accord with the rarity or value of the ingredient. For example, Frankincense and Myrrh are usually more pricey than Lemon or Bay. Be sure to get a quality essential oil that is labeled as 100% pure essential oil. I like this company’s oils, they are eco and cause conscious and are available through amazon:
Fragrance oils are another way you can use an oil to enhance ritual workings and open yourself to specific energies. These are derived by combining or using a singular essential oil and placing a few drops of it/each in a carrier oil such as sesame, almond, jojoba or coconut. If you make your own you will want to use approx. 2-4 drops tl of your oils and approx. 40z. of carrier. It is better to error on the side of too little essential oil than too much and cause a negative skin reaction. I wear oils in place of perfume routinely and have special ones I use only for ritual or personal practice. I make my oil 40z portion to use as a body massage oil or therapeutic for arthritis, etc… This is the company I like to purchase my small in purse roll on oils:
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