Here downtown there are people on the street selling huge vats of frankincense at little stands. It’s quite cheap. I bought a packet, and this is the amount it came out to:
No, it didn’t come in this plastic tub. The tub is from an ice-cream shop. It just happened to be the right size to hold our frankincense in.
Holy Week with all its processions is a major event here in southern Spain. I’ve written a few posts on that subject, and you can see them here: Holy Week in Malaga.
If you’ve ever been on a Holy Week procession, you might have noticed that they carry silver incense burners that smell—absolutely divine!
In addition, incense has the property of being able to clear negative energy from the space around it. One of the reasons why churches and other holy places have always used it to purify the temples.
Now, you can enjoy that sacred fragrance every day of the year in your own home by burning your own frankincense. This is how we do it. (But of course, this method will work for any natural incense stones or powder that you might have.)
The ideal way is to possess your very own decorative incense burner, preferably with lots of artwork engraved all around. I was too impatient to try this out to run out and stalk souvenir shops, so I just grabbed an old heat-resistant glass candle holder.
I filled the candle holder with sand. Now, living right next to the sea, you would think I would have a ready-made source of sand whenever I want—and I do. But I was too impatient to go down to the beach to get some. So I just used the kitty litter.
No, not the sand from inside his litter, of course. Phew! Nope, I grabbed some clean, unused sand from the bag.
(In case you are wondering what the owner of our kitty litter looks like, here’s a mug of him.)
I’d previously bought incense charcoal from a health food store, so I took one chunk and held it with a pair of metal tweezers, of the sort you’d use for barbecues.
If you don’t have one, I imagine you could use any metal cooking utensil. But we happened to be lucky enough to possess a pair of tweezers.
I held the chunk of charcoal with the tweezers and lit a match (ie. my son lit a match) and held the match underneath the charcoal. It’s best to use natural charcoal, and not the ones with toxic chemical additives to help it ignite faster. But I couldn’t find any natural ones and I used what I was able to get.
You can tell if your charcoal has chemicals if it sizzles and crackles. Lately, I have been on a mission to reduce the chemicals we use in our natural skin and hair care routine to a minimum. But using all natural charcoal hasn’t quite made it into our litany yet.
It only took a few seconds for the charcoal to ignite. Then I took the match away (put it out, of course, so you won’t burn anything!) and just held onto the charcoal with the tweezers for a while.
The first time I tried it, I don’t know why, the charcoal smoked a lot. The next time, I laid it gently down on the sand and it didn’t smoke.
I blew on it to make it burn faster. You have to wait until the entire thing is red hot. It will be an ashy grey all around. That’s when you know it is ready.
With a small teaspoon I pushed it around in the sand a bit so it was half buried (don’t bury it completely or it will go out). Then I sprinkled the frankincense on the sand all around it. It will be hot, so use the spoon.
If you sprinkle the frankincense directly on it, it will burn too quickly and smoke a lot. Sprinkling the incense close to, but not touching, the coal makes it last longer.
And that’s it.
And of course, although it should be obvious but I ought to say it anyway, do take the utmost care to make sure the whole incense contraption (burner, spoon, tweezers, matches etc.) is out of the reach of babies, small children, pets, violent people and anyone else who shouldn’t touch it. It’s hot, after all!
And after you’ve put it out, or it’s all burnt up, do wait a long time for it to cool down before touching it and putting it away, or it can and will burn you!
Waiting till the next day, for example, is good.
And while we’re at it, not to sound like a sleazy saleslady but I’ve written a few thrillers so, if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out, here: Thrillers by Moi.
So how about you? Have you ever tried natural incense? Or wondered how they used frankincense during the Holy Week processions? Don’t hesitate to share. As you know, I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!
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