Hello Flow friends,

Incense has that magical quality that can't be denied, there is something sacred that happens when we light an incense, a moment of reverence, a consciousness shift towards the devotional, just through the simplicity of this ancient ritual.

Today we learn the a little about the broad and diverse history of incense, and how we can use this simple act of lighting an incense as an intentional tool, to help shift our energy and shape our hopes and dreams.

The sacred beauty of burning incense ​​ 

"Life is short, burn the incense and savour the fragrance of the present moment"

Hollie Bradley

The ancient origins of incense.

Incense was adopted by many ancient cultures to evoke mystical ambience, forging a connection to the gods, and to support important spiritual rites and rituals.

The word incense comes from the Latin word incendere meaning 'to burn'.

Initially incense was used in an indirect form, in cones of resin or oil, and later to evolved into the incense sticks we know and love today.

Egyptian's were depicted burning incense ritualistically as far back as 7th century BC, the fragrances were documented as being precious frankincense and myrrh.

It was widely believed that these mystical scents were also able deter malevolent underworld demons, and appease the gods with their pleasant aroma. 

The Babylonians used incense while offering prayers to their oracles for guidance and protection, the use of incense spread widely through the the ancient civilization's of Greece and Rome also.

Relics of incense burners have been unearthed in the Indus Valley dating back to 3300–1300 BC with residue of Palo Santo, vanilla and cinnamon, what a delightful aroma that would have been!

The oldest historic use of incense use was from India of course, as recorded in the Rigveda's, where they used resins from sarsaparilla seeds, frankincense and cypress commonly.

Then these same aromatics, and many more were then used in Ayurvedic medicine to facilitate healing.

As Hinduism matured, and Buddhism was growing in popularity throughout India, incense became a crucial part of Buddhism practices as well.

It was believed that around 2000 BC, a group of wandering Buddhist monks introduced the art of incense stick making, (like we use today) at this time they used their own unique aromatics of cassia, styrax, sandalwood for their ceremonial rites.

Incense also spread in popularity throughout Japan after it was again introduced by traveling Buddhist Monks, who used the mystical aromas in their purification rites.

I think my favourite ancient aromatic combinations would have to be from the British museum achieves, of a Yemeni Bridal blend of saffron, rose, white musk, myrtle and myrrh. So romantic!

How can you use incense to evoke magic in your daily life?

In my home I always burn an incense stick first thing in the morning, I light the incense stick and place it between my hands in prayer, my nine year old son now joins me as we set our intentions for the day, and offer our thanks and gratitude for all the blessing we have in our lives.

I whisper these thanks and affirmations, and then circles the smoke around my head in an act of purification, and place the incense in its holder or in my garden.

"The simple act of lighting and offering an incense can deepen our sense of connection"

Burning incense as a d​​evotional practice 

Who is Holy smoke and why do we support them? ?

Let us introduce our Holy Smokes founders, a mumma and daughter team, Deborah and Deepa. 

"Its been such an enduring relationship from the liberating hippie days where words such as ‘yoga’ and ‘meditation’ were only very discreetly spoken in polite society to the mainstream acceptance by our culture today. 

Meanwhile the quality of incense has largely diminished driven by the profit margins, with toxic chemicals now involved.

Our intention with Holy Smoke is to offer a quality incense that restores confidence in such a simple yet potent product that enhances our mindful practices.

The small things in life do matter!

Happily for us, our ‘Holy Smoke’ eco-incense business dovetails nicely with shared passions of travel and embracing different cultures, pursuing our spiritual endeavours in our beloved sacred mountains and rivers of the Himalayas"

I hope you have enjoyed our little journey down the history of incense rabbit hole.

Sending love and blessing till next we meet.

Hollie x

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published