Magicka Incense and Tinctures

tick and cone incense are not the best for use in spellcraft because neither allows the control that natural powders do. Both stick and cone incense require components that may interfere with the effect we seek. Stick incense is typically formed around a thin piece of bamboo. That might be acceptable if our intent aligned with the properties of bamboo, but even then the harsh smell of burning wood adds a generally unpleasant undertone. Cone incense requires a binding agent that might interfere with our intent.

The alternative and best incense form to use for spellcraft is a combination of powdered incense and charcoal disks. The disks can be found in most New Age and pagan shops in packs of five and 10. The price will vary, but generally speaking, you will pay about $2 for 10 disks. You will learn to make the incense in this chapter.

To use incense with charcoal disks, turn the disk upside down so that the cup faces down. Hold the disk to a flame until it starts to spark, then invert it and place it on a bed of gravel or sand in a censor or other fire-safe container. At first, it will smell similar to lighting a match because both contain sulfur. As sulfur has its own magickal properties, it is a good idea to keep the burning disk away from your ritual area until the initial sparks go out. The sparks will stop after a minute or two. When the disk starts to turn white and glow, you can sprinkle on the incense. Smoke will rise immediately. How long your incense will smolder is dependent on the ratio between plant material and resins. A side benefit to using powder incense is its versatility. Almost any powder incense can also be used to make tinctures.

Tinctures that can be made from these incense recipes can be substituted for the oils listed in Chapter 8. Tinctures are much more affordable than essential oils, but they are generally not available at your local pagan shop because, although most extracts that are used in cooking are themselves tinctures, anyone other than a grocery store will generally be hit with a fine or imprisonment for selling alcohol without a license. After a teenager was suspended for drinking ginseng extract at his school, gas stations and grocery stores were forced to remove boxes of ginseng extract or face the potential of jail time. But that does not mean that it is illegal for you to make your own tinctures. The violation of law only comes in when you try to sell the product without having a liquor sales permit.

The alcohol used to create a tincture is grain alcohol (a.k.a. ethyl alcohol or ethanol). It is the same material that our gasoline has been spiked with for years. But don't try making your tinctures with unleaded fuel or rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). Although both will do a bang-up job of extracting the scent from the plant material, they will also add their own scent.

The absolute best alcohol for this purpose is good old Everclear (192 proof / 96%). I have seen claim after claim that you can use any grain of 140 proof/70%, but I have yet to find vodka in that strength and all of the other alternatives leave an afterscent. Bacardi 151 will do if you absolutely cannot find Everclear, but it comes with its own annoying odor. Better to save the rum for libations and go with the good stuff.

There are devices on the market that will generate top-quality tinctures much faster than what I will describe. But thus far, I have found them all overpriced, and some were downright dangerous. If you must experiment with such devices, avoid any that use an open flame, ignore their instructions on solvents (usually petroleum ether), and be ready for a visit from your local law enforcement agency; these devices are often used to concentrate the THC from marijuana into hashish or hashish oil (sometimes with the assistance of battery acid to rotate the CBN into THC). I hope I just caused a few people to rethink the use of hashish.

Instead, let's use the tried-and-true method. Assemble your dried plant material and grind it to the smallest possible portions. If you are using hard materials such as gallangal or sandalwood, you will be better off purchasing the herb in powder form. Cover the bottom of a standard size mason jar with the plant material. Pour in the alcohol to an amount equal to twice the volume of the plant material. If the plant material is one inch deep, the alcohol should rise one inch above it for a total of two inches in depth. Screw on the cap tightly and then shake.

Unscrew the cap to release the pressure, then tighten and shake the jar vigorously for three minutes. Repeat this at least once; better thrice, a day for half a lunar cycle (two weeks). Always store the jar in a cool place away from direct light of any kind. I have had better success if I do this during the first two weeks of a lunar cycle (new moon to full moon) that corresponds to the intent. After two weeks, enough of the plant material should have fused with the alcohol so that you will be able to detect it in the scent of the tincture. To test this, place a drop or two on your wrist and allow it to evaporate. If there is a distinct odor after the alcohol has evaporated, you have succeeded in creating a successful tincture.

Dry incenses tend to burn entirely too fast. To slow down the burn, I have found that including enough of an oil base to barely dampen the mixture works great. Do not saturate the powdered plant material. Just enough oil is added so that if you pinch the mixture together it will bind to itself. Add too much oil and the mix simply will not burn. With just the smallest amount of practice you will get a feel for how much oil to include. If you are making tinctures, you can skip the binding agent, but it won't hurt if you include it for tincture blends as well.

Where a reference is made to an oil by the same name as the incense or tincture, that oil should be prepared from the instructions given in this book, as they were formulated to complement each other. Failing that amount of preparation, the substitute given can be used, or you can pick a different substitute from Chapter 9, where associated concentrations and extracts are given. The same is true of substituting associated plant materials.

Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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