Making charcoal incense was something I struggled with for years. It’s just so much easier to use combustible incense! These are your sticks, cones and other shapes that you just have to light and blow out.
About 10 years ago I was determined to learn how to make non-combustible incense. This is a much easier way to create personal blends. As we all move further and further along our path, many of feel the need to create tailor everything to our individual desires. From writing your own spells and rituals to creating your own oil, incense and even herbal tea blends. While I have been crafting original spells for 20 years, I always used pre-made incense.
On to making your own non-combustible incense. Remember the charcoal is not the kind you buy for your BBQ! It is actually a self-igniting charcoal block that smolders your incense. You can find this at occult shops and online.
It contains saltpeter which gives it that initial sparkle when you light it. Use a long BBQ lighter to safely light the charcoal. Once the sparkle has gone you can then add your incense to the block. Start with a small amount of incense otherwise it won’t smolder and it can just snuff out the charcoal. I also find I do not always burn incense long enough to use up a whole piece of charcoal. I cut a few pieces into quarters for shorter rituals and then have whole ones left over for longer rites.
When making your incense you need all of the ingredients ground to a fine powder. You may find the resins harder to turn to powder. This just takes practice. My opinion is to always use a resin base. Not only does it allow the incense to burn longer but it sweetens the scent of the herbs.
Try to burn a bit of each herb on its own before adding it to your incense blend. Some herbs do not smell great when they burn. Your resin base should equal the total amount of the herbs you use. Resins include copal, frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, styrax, dragon’s blood and sandalwood. Always use a stone mortar and pestle, never wood! You can only use dried herbs in incense. But you can often use 2-3 drops of 100% pure essential oil. (More than 3 drops will make your incense too moist to burn).
There is a long list of herbs that are poisonous to breathe in. I won’t go into that today, but do your research before adding any herb to incense. Pick up a good book on herbs or one specific to making incense. I really like Scott Cunningham’s “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews.”
Choose your resin and herbs based on the correspondences and numbers that suit your magickal goals. Once everything is ground up and powdered, you can put it in a glass jar and shake it really well. (Label the jar with the ingredients, when it was made and what it is for.) You can make as little or as much as you please. This is the great part of crafting your own!
Now you are ready to burn your incense. Add the mixture to the lit charcoal block and you are good to go. You will get a feel for how much incense to add as you go based on the length of the smoldering of your particular blend. I like to keep a journal of this for future reference.
Sources: “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews” by Scott Cunningham
“The Way of the Green Witch” by: Arin Murphy-Hiscock
From my own Book of Shadows based on my experiences