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Crafting an Easy Herbal Incense Blend for Spring Renewal

As the chill of winter melts away, giving rise to the budding promises of spring, our senses awaken to the renewed energy and life blossoming around us. This season of rebirth and rejuvenation, beckons us to align our inner selves with the natural cycle of renewal. In the spirit of embracing this vibrant season, I invite you to explore a new way to interact with our plant allies - the craft of making and burning herbal incense, a practice that not only refreshes our spaces but also our souls.


bouquet of lavender, rosemary, chamomile, mint, and lemon balm

There are many types of intense, but one of the easiest to make is a loose incense. This is burned by placing the aromatics over hot coals or a heated surface. This is the type we are going to create with some spring herbs.


Selecting Your Spring Herbs

The key to crafting a spring renewal incense blend lies in selecting herbs that embody the vitality, purity, and freshness of the season. Here are some favorites to consider:

  • Lavender: Known for its soothing and calming properties, lavender adds a layer of relaxation to your blend, reminiscent of early spring mornings.

  • Rosemary: Symbolizing remembrance and renewal, rosemary's invigorating scent energizes the space, mirroring the awakening of nature.

  • Lemon Balm: With its bright, citrusy aroma, lemon balm brings a burst of spring joy and lightness, encouraging clarity and uplifting spirits.

  • Peppermint: Its cool, refreshing scent cleanses the air and invigorates the mind, perfect for those spring days filled with new beginnings.

  • Chamomile: A symbol of relaxation and peace, chamomile adds a sweet, floral fragrance that soothes and comforts, echoing the gentle warmth of spring afternoons.


Crafting Your Herbal Incense Blend

Crafting a loose incense blend allows for a more personal and intimate interaction with the natural qualities of each herb, especially when working with delicate florals that encapsulate the essence of spring. The process is not just about mixing ingredients; it's a meditative practice, inviting you to engage with the rebirth and renewal that spring represents.


Preparing Your Ingredients

  1. Drying Herbs: If you've collected fresh herbs, they'll need to be carefully dried to preserve their aromatic oils and ensure a proper burn. Hang them in a dry, dark place with good air circulation. For delicate florals, consider using a dehydrator set at a low temperature to retain their color and fragrance.

  2. Grinding Herbs: Once your herbs are completely dry, gently crush them using a mortar and pestle. For delicate florals like lavender and chamomile, a light grinding is sufficient to release their fragrances without turning them into powder. Each herb should be ground separately to honor its unique contributions to your blend.

  3. Blending: Combine your ground herbs in a bowl, mixing them gently with your fingers or a wooden spoon. This tactile process allows you to connect with the energy of the herbs and infuse your blend with specific intentions for renewal and growth. Balance the quantities based on the strength of each herb's aroma and your personal preference, aiming for a harmonious scent profile that speaks to the vibrancy of spring. There's no strict recipe to follow—trust your senses and let the herbs guide you.


mortar and pestle surrounded by spring herbs

Using your Incense

Burning loose incense, particularly blends containing delicate florals, requires a gentle approach to preserve their subtle scents and energies. Here are a few methods tailored to the nuances of your spring renewal blend


Charcoal Disks

Place a charcoal disk in a heat-resistant incense burner filled with sand to insulate the heat. Light the charcoal until it's uniformly glowing. Instead of placing the incense directly on the charcoal, which can be too hot and might burn the delicate herbs too quickly, use a piece of mica or a small, heat-safe metal screen between the charcoal and the incense. This method diffuses the heat more gently, allowing the incense to smolder slowly and release its fragrances without scorching.


Adjustable Candle Burners

Burners designed for loose incense offer an excellent way to enjoy your blend without direct contact with flames or intense heat. Place the incense on the surface of the burner, and use a tea light or small candle underneath to gently warm the herbs. This method allows for a slow release of scent. This is one that I use.


Electric Incense Burners

Electric incense burners provide precise temperature control, making them ideal for burning delicate herbal blends. By setting the burner to a lower temperature, you can ensure that the incense is warmed without burning, preserving the integrity of the florals and allowing for a prolonged release of their natural aromas. This is the one that I have and love using.


A Spring Renewal Meditation: Listening to Incense

In this meditation practice, we'll explore a way of connecting with our senses and the natural world through the act of "listening" to incense. This is loosely based on the Japanese practice of kodo. This meditation invites you to attune your awareness to the subtle messages and energies conveyed by the aroma of your handcrafted incense, fostering a deeper connection with the themes of growth, rebirth, and mindfulness.


Preparing Your Space

  • Find a serene spot where you can comfortably sit or lie down. Ensure this space is free from distractions, allowing you to fully immerse in the meditation. Consider dimming the lights or sitting by a window to connect with the natural light.

  • Light your incense using a method that allows for gentle heat. As you light the incense, silently express gratitude for the plants and elements that have come together in your blend.


Meditation

  • Close your eyes and draw your attention inward with a few deep, cleansing breaths. Inhale through the nose, filling your lungs completely, and exhale slowly through the mouth, releasing any tension.

  • Shift your focus to the aroma of the burning incense. Instead of merely smelling, strive to "listen" with your entire being. What does the scent convey? How does the combination of herbs and florals speak to you?

  • Allow the fragrance to guide you on an inward journey. Imagine each note of the incense as a voice with a message for you. Listen to what these scents are communicating about growth, change, and rebirth.

  • With the guidance of the incense's whispers, turn your attention to your own life. What areas are ready for renewal or growth? Listen for insights or inspirations that arise, feeling them take root within your heart and mind.

  • Gradually, bring your awareness back to the present moment, taking with you the messages and insights received. Before opening your eyes, take a moment to express gratitude for the guidance of the plants and the journey it facilitated.

  • Gently open your eyes, coming back to your surroundings. If your incense is still burning, you might choose to let it continue as a symbol of your ongoing journey toward renewal, or you may extinguish it as a symbolic gesture of integrating your insights into your daily life.

Let me know how your experience was, with either crafting a spring loose incense or with the "listening to incense" meditation. Comment below, or share online!


If you are interested in learning more about crafting all kinds of incense, the history of incense making, and its ingredients, you might like the class I'm teaching in June. This is an immersive one-day intensive workshop dedicated to the craft of incense making. This hands-on experience will take you on a journey through the theory, materials, techniques, and practical application of creating incense in several forms and gain insights into its historical significance and modern-day uses. You can read more about it and sign up here.


Cone incense burning with a candle in the background.

 

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