Frankincense (also called Olibanum) is one of the oldest documented resins used in magical and religious practice, and has historically used for blessing and devotion, and for drawing good and blessed spirits and expelling the bad.
It’s been used for millennia in various religions as a temple incense. As mentioned above, it was sacred incense in Egypt. In Hellenistic Greece, it was called for as the appropriate incense offering in a number of the Orphic Hymns.
The Zoroastrians burn it for purification. Frankincense is also an ingredient in Ketoret, the sacred Jewish temple incense blend, and the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches use it to fume mass.
We use Frankincense for two main magical purposes: purification and sanctification. Whereas many practitioners like to use sage to cleanse their space and etheric bodies, we find that frankincense performs this better. (Sage is suitable for earthing or grounding forces, but in our experience doesn’t really do much to cleanse and purify.)
Frankincense also is uplifting to the mind and spirit of the practitioner and helps calm anxiety. It is useful to establish ritual space, promote an atmosphere conducive to magical work, and to aid in meditation.
Frankincense is also an ingredient in a number of blessing spells and formulate.
Frankincense Resin (Frankincense’s Tear)
Hidden within the rare Boswellia Sacra trees, through a process of tapping the branches of this sacred Frankincense tree you can extract the Frankincense Resin, this has been used since ancient times for numerous purposes including meditation, healing and prayer. Frankincense was such a precious and prized sought after commodity valued more expensive than Gold at times. During its known 5000 year history, the ancients traveled far and wide in search of the precious resin through the 2600 mile famous frankincense trail to locate this highly prized commodity.
How do I burn Frankincense Resins as incense?
Raw oleo resins are usually the exudes formed on the surface of trees and plants, which we have collected and used as medicine, perfume, incense, adhesives and for many other applications, since time immemorial, across the globe, and in most every human culture. Though we like to call them saps, they differ from the true sap of the tree since they are usually produced by special ducts close to the surface of the tree in response to injury. Saps are usually considered the liquid that the tree produces deeper in itself which carries nutrients between roots and the farthest reaches of the tree.
Usually accessed by deep tapping of the tree. Our fragrant oleo resins are sometimes exuded naturally, or more often than not in response to our intentional damaging of the bark to produce a resinous response from the tree to the wounding. Usually this method of encouraging the tree to produce oleo resins does little harm. As incense, these oleo resins are burned, alone or in combination with other fragrant natural materials such as powdered barks, flowers and essential oils. In ancient times, hot embers from the fire were used to burn incense resins. Today most cultures around the world use manufactured charcoal pucks, made from compressed powdered, partly burnt wood. Often these are impregnated with Saltpetre so they burn evenly. In countries where burning oleo resins is a daily tradition, one will find simple and ornate electric burners in most homes.
Churches and temples of most religions practice some form of ceremonial burning of incense, whether as an offering to the god or gods, to purify the area, or to create a receptive atmosphere for supplicants. Studies have shown that oleo resins such as Frankincense Papyrifera and Sacra contain psychoactive ingredients that affect our brain chemistry through their smoke.