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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Foundations of Incense: Lavender

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I love lavender.  It’s easy to grow, at least where I live, and it’s generally hardly.  Best of all, it’s excellent for incense making.  It powders easily, has a great scent, and is very fault-tolerant.  You can even make incense cones or sticks using nothing but lavender and a tiny bit of binder.

Most incense makers tend to use the flowers from lavender plants, but one of the secrets of lavender is that it stores the bulk of its oils in its stems rather than in the flowers.  To get a more powerful scent from your lavender plant, use both the flowers and the stems.  If you grow lavender, save all of your cuttings any time you trim the plant.  Dry them and use them in your incense.

To get that strong, classic lavender scent, you might want to add a few drops of essential oil to your lavender incense.  You don’t have to, but that will give it a real scent boost.  I am usually happy without the oil, but it is an inexpensive way to really boost the power of your incense.

If you like to make masala-style incense sticks (with a wooden rod in the center), you might enjoy another way to use your lavender plants.  Rather than using the traditional bamboo rod in your sticks, find some straight flower stems on your lavender plants.  Harvest and carefully dry them.  Then you can use those stems in place of the wooden rod.  This will not only add a tiny bit to the scent of the stick, but it will also avoid the myriad problems associated with wooden rods.  It’s also a very nice touch as far as looks go!

How about a recipe?  This recipe uses lavender stems as a base material, but if you don’t have any stems available, you can use white pine, alder wood, or just about any base material in place of the stems.  This recipe uses 2 ½ teaspoons of powdered lavender stems, 1 ¾ teaspoons powdered lavender flowers, and an 1/8 of a teaspoon of guar gum (or other gum binder).  If you plan to make masala style incense sticks, you may want to add ¼ teaspoon of binder, rather than 1/8.

Begin by mixing the powdered lavender stems and flowers with the guar gum.  As always, mix the powders thoroughly until the powder is a consistent color.  Add water, or lavender herbal tea, as needed.  You’ll need about 1 tablespoon of water, but be careful not to add too much or your incense dough will be sticky and not hold its shape.  Add about ½ a tablespoon (or 8 milliliters) and then add more liquid as needed. 

Last modified on
  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  


  • Tyger
    Tyger Monday, 11 March 2019

    Great article. Thank you!

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