Incense Magick: Art & Ritual of Incense

Incense fanatic Carl Neal walks you through the joys, wonders, and science of making and using natural incense. From making your first basic cone to creation and use of elaborate incense rituals, Incense Magick is your guide to the sometimes secretive world of incense and incense making. Every article explores different facets of incense, incense making, ingredients, rituals, tools, or techniques.

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Carl Neal

Carl Neal

  Carl Neal has walked a Pagan path for 30 years. He is a self-avowed incense fanatic and has published 2 books through Llewellyn Worldwide on the topic. For many years (and even occasionally these days) he was a vendor of altar tools and supplies which led him to write The Magick Toolbox for Red Wheel/Weiser  

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The Elements of Incense

This is the first entry in Carl Neal's new blog, "Incense Magick." Entries for "Circle of One" can still be found in the archives of Carl Neal's writing on PaganSquare.

I started making incense in 1995. Since then I have taught thousands of people to make incense in various workshops and classes and tens of thousands through my books, web sites, and You Tube channel. I obsessively research incense and read every book I can find on the topic. Over the years of speaking with various practitioners and students, as well as reading many “magick 101” books, I have learned that most people regard incense as representative of the element of either fire or air (or occasionally both). For decades now I have respectfully disagreed.

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Love for Orlando

I am going to delay the next article in the series "Blurring the Lines of Community" for an obvious reason.

The LGBT community has been deeply wounded.  That community has been the inspiration of many of the things we have been trying to do over the years in the Pagan Community.  I have often held up the LGBT Community as an example of what can be accomplished by a repressed, suppressed, and marginalized community.  Same sex marriage is now the law of the land.  Battles over equal rights continue, but the LGBT Community has done an amazing job over the last few decades of moving the discussion from one of pure hate and complete lack of understanding to an emerging view in America that their members are simply other members of the larger community.  There is still far to go, but the LGBT inspiration has had a massive impact on the Pagan Community and how we are now attempting to become more accepted by the legal system and American society as a whole.  There would be no "Pagan Pride Day" if it weren't for the LGBT Community blazing a trail for us.  

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Blurring The Lines Of Community: Jury Duty

This is part of a continuing series exploring ways that Solitary Pagans can connect not only with the Greater Pagan Community, but how we can connect with our local communities and bring our unique perspectives and beliefs into the fabric of those communities.

Few words elicit dread the way that “jury duty” does for a lot of people.  Personally, I find this drive to “get out of” jury duty to be disturbing as I have always wanted to serve on a jury but have never had the chance.  I personally think this anti-jury duty perspective is based on the quite unrealistic way that juries are portrayed on television and in movies.  I think most of the rest of it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of jury duty and how it works.

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Blurring The Lines Of Community: Politics

So are you sick of politics?  Tired of the election coverage?  For a political junkie like me, this election cycle has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed and I just can’t wait to see what happens next!  I thank all of the deities that I am not only alive to witness this but that I’m old enough to truly appreciate it.  So what does this have to do with being a Solitary Pagan?  Actually, a fair amount.

This is part of my continuing series called “Blurring the Lines of Community”.  My point with these articles is that as Solitaries, we often find it difficult to worship with others or even to find others who worship in any way similar to ourselves.  So how can Solitaries be part of Community when we are often seen as “loners”, “anti-social”, or even “not real Pagans”?  Well, notwithstanding the ideas I’ve put forward in other articles for becoming part of the Greater Pagan Community, there is another aspect to “Community” that I think is at least as important, if not even more important.

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    Somewhere in my collection of Pogo books there is one in which one of the characters; either Pogo or Porkupine, says that voting i

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It’s no big revelation that the “Pagan Community” is a broad term that encompasses countless small groups that may (or may not) consider themselves “Pagan”.  We all know that the term “Pagan” comes with controversy and debate, but how often do we consider the other word in the phrase? 

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Like many of you, I celebrated the Supreme Court decision that has effectively legalized same-sex marriage throughout the USA.  While the Pagan Community is a wide-ranging and diverse group of people (and we have generally embraced members of the LGBT Community in contrast to many other groups who have stood in opposition), it is worth remembering that there are socially conservative Pagans who might not have celebrated quite as much.  However, the majority of our Community seems to be on the more liberal/progressive side of things.

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The power of words is indisputable, especially spoken words.  They have sparked war and paved the way for peace.  Words can cause great emotional pain as well as convey the deepest and richest love.  The idea that words have power is one key to understanding the power of magick.  From dirt-worshipping neo-Pagan to the greatest practitioner of High Magick, words hold power for all of us.  That is especially true of words spoken during spells and rituals. 

Knowing this, I am often surprised at the number of Solitaries who practice only silent rituals and spells.  While even silent rituals often use words, they are thoughts and not spoken aloud.  There was a time that I also performed rituals in virtual silence, perhaps only speaking to cast my circle.  Sometimes not even then.  One day while explaining the power of words to someone, it struck me how wasteful most of my silent rituals were.  Don’t get me wrong – there is a place for silence within rituals and also a place for completely silent rituals.  I was just surprised at all of the opportunities I had squandered with my silence. Since I was alone, as is the accepted norm in American culture, I tended not to speak aloud.  After all, nobody else was there to hear the words, right?

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