Burning Herbal Incense

        Burning Herbal Incense 


          Herbal Incense is burned on small, round charcoal briquettes that are available om my Burning Times Candles website.  To burn Herbal Incense, you will require the following three things. 

  1.  A small, round briquette of self-igniting charcoal (not barbecue charcoal)
  2. A heatproof censer with a layer of sand or earth in it.
  3. A lighter or long-stemmed matches


        Self-igniting charcoal briquettes come in various sizes. I don't recommend the 1/2-inch size, as they are easy to smothet with a spoonful of Incense and prone to falling apart or exploding if not handled correctly.  I recommend buying the one inch briquettes and using half a briquette at a time (you really don't need a whole briquette for a single spoonful of herbal incense.,) A briquette will burn for forty-five minutes to an hour, and burning a spoonful or Herbal incense doesn't take that long.  

.        Caution never use outdoor barbecue charcoal, as it releases dangerous fumes that can be fatal when used indoors or in a poorly ventilated space.

          A single spoonful is all you'll need to release its energy into your space. A scant teaspoonful sprinkled on a glowing charcoal will release a cloud of smoke. Unlike stick incense, Herbal incense burns all at once until it's gone, and thus releases more smoke in the space, however, so there's no need to keep piling on the incense blend to produce a steady supply of smoke. If you try to burn too much incense,  the room will become too smokey and it's likely to set off your smoke alarm. Herbal incense goes a long way. When you use Herbal incense,  you're actually smoldering it, not burning it, there's no flame involved.  The bits of resin melt and the Herbal matter turns black and crackles away.

                If you choose to use matches to light the charcoal, long-stemmed matches are preferable because short safety matches burn down too quickly. A long-handled barbecue lighter is ideal for lighting charcoal briquettes. Although there are a few brave souls who hold the charcoal with fingers while they light it, I don't recommend this for obvious safety reasons. The best way to light charcoal is to hold it in one hand with a pair of tweezers or small pair of tongs while you apply the flame to the charcoal with your other hand. Hold the flame to the edge of the briquette,  and as it catches fire will begin to sparkle. If your charcoal is particularly quick , those sparkles will begin to move across the surface of the briquette,  firing the rest of the surface.  If your charcoal is very densely made or slightly damp because of humidity in the environment,  you may have to hold the flame to different areas to light as many as possible before they combine to ignite the rest of the briquette.  Remember that your tweezers or tongs are metal and will conduct the heat of the charcoal briquette once it begins to ignite. 

             When the briquette has fully initiated, lay it down carefully on the layer of sand or earth in your censer. You can use almost any heatproof dish as a censer, as long as it has a layer of material to absorb the heat. To be on the safe side, you can put a trivet  or heatproof coaster under your censer to protect your table or altar from heat damage. 

            Wait until the sparkles have finished coursing across the surface of the briquette and the surface has begun to glow faintly red. At this point, your charcoal is ready to receive a teaspoonful of herbal incense or a pinch of resin. Some people prefer to wait until there is a thin layer of gray ash on top of the briquette before sprinkling incense on top of it.

              Don't just pile on huge spoonfuls of the Herbal incense on the charcoal. Sprinkle it gently, visualizing  the goal for which you've created the blend. A solid chunk of incense can smother the charcoal. 

          When the incense has finished burning, you can wait fifteen or twenty minutes for the smoke to dissipate a bit, then sprinkle another half-teaspoon of incense on the charcoal. When this has burned leave the charcoal to burn out on its own. It will turn jnto gray ash. Allow this ash to cool, then stir it gently into the sand or earth in your censer. 

             Keeping a small bottle of water or a second bowl of earth or sand nearby to smother the charcoal and incense should it somehow get out of control is always an intelligent precaution. 

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