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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Making Incense With A Wood Chipper

Yes, you read that correctly.  I’ve been making incense for more than 20 years and in the early days I never would have imagined adding a chipper to my arsenal of incense making tools.  I searched  for an appropriate chipper for several years. A few months ago I finally took the plunge.  Oh how I wish I had done this sooner!

If you make incense by purchasing powdered ingredients and blending them, a wood chipper wouldn’t be of much use.  If you powder your own incense ingredients, then perhaps this is a good idea for you.   As the years have gone by I have turned more and more to acquiring ingredients in the least processed form.  It didn’t take long to get to the point where I was turning logs into incense.  There are many challenges to doing this.    I know incense makers who often harvest wood from their own land and face the same obstacles.  The bark has to be removed, the log broken into workable pieces which are then powdered.  I have a nice log splitting wedge that helps with this process as well as a hammer, hatchet, and axe.

The wood chipper fills a much needed gap in the process.  Taking wood from 1” square splits into pieces that can be put in a blender or grinder is slow and painstaking.  The chipper turns those splits into beautiful chips that are ready to grind in mere seconds.  Getting such nice shavings to use reduces the chance of damaging the blades of the blender/grinder.  It also reduces the painful sounds made by putting large chunks through a blender/grinder.  I had to search for the right chipper because I wanted an electric chipper with fairly low power.  Most chippers would be overkill to say the least.  I’m a little disappointed that I never found a tabletop chipper but the one I selected is close.

Ok, so I doubt I’ve convinced too many of you to run out and buy a wood chipper.  Honestly, that wasn’t my intention.  If you want to wild harvest wood or simply utilize woods you’ve grown yourself, a chipper is a great tool.  What’s more important is to remember that in incense making, as in all aspects of life, sometimes it is helpful to step well outside the box and consider something radical or dramatically unexpected. 


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  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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