This is an article which appeared in the latest Raven Newsletter:
I can remember the first time I smelt Frankincense.
I had opened an envelope from an occult supplier, Margaret Bruce (now that is going back some years) and there was a waft of an exotic, magical perfume, and out of the envelope dropped a tiny nugget of resin.
I didn't know what it was, so I asked my dad and he said that it was Frankincense and he thought he had a tin of it somewhere. He had been an altar boy at his local Roman Catholic church in his youth, and one of his jobs had been to swing the incense censer and top it up with the fragrant resin, to fill the sanctuary with an odour pleasing to God.
When he found the tin, and happily some charcoal, he showed me how to light the charcoal and blow on one edge to get it going, then dropped a teaspoonful of the resin onto the glowing coal. The house filled with smoke at an alarming rate and we ended up having to open all the doors and windows to get rid of it.
'Yes, well,' said my dad, 'I did have to use enough to fill the church, which is a bit bigger area than this.'
We had another go, using just a few grains of the resin and the smell was amazing.
I love the ceremony of using this natural resin, the lighting of the disc, positioning it on the sand in my burner, then the dropping of the first few grains on the coal. All of these preparations help to start building the atmosphere, ready for magic or ritual.
I had, of course, heard of Frankincense. Every christmas we were told the story of the birth of Jesus and how the Magi had brought him gifts of gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. And having experienced Frankincense, I was now eager to try its sister resin, Myrrh.
Whereas Frankincense is a bright, soft amber colour, Myrrh is a darker resin in every way. It is dark brown, and its perfume is darker and more sensual. The two resins together harmonise and enhance one another, and make a very powerful perfume for spells and rituals.
Myrrh is known as the perfume of the Underworld, or death and spirits. It smells earthy and sexual, and is a perfume for rituals of seduction and sexuality, or to awaken demons and spirits.
Both of these resins were well known and highly valued in ancient rituals. The ancient Egyptians wrote their incense and perfume recipes on the walls of their temples and these recipes included Frankincense and Myrrh.
Now a days we tend to use joss sticks and cones for our rituals. They are easier and more convenient to use, and come in a wide variety of flavours.
But when I want to make a special ceremony, where the air tingles with magic, and you can feel the powers ramping up, I go back to the natural resins of Frankincense and Myrrh.
Incidentally, we did pop a pinch or two of Frankincense and Myrrh resins in with our latest Mail Shot, so I hope our customers liked it.