Magical Oils and Incense
Magical oils are perhaps the most versatile of all the gifts available to the natural magician. Containing the essence and energies of a plant, they can be used in virtually all ceremonies and spells, and come in a dizzying variety of scents. Their uses vary from money drawing, to attracting love, to energising, clearing and purification, to name but a few. The simplest way to release their magic is simply to add a few drops to an oil burner with a little water, and use them to fragrance a room or your altar.
Magical oils can also be added to ritual baths before spellwork begins, along with a handful of salt for cleansing. They can be added to resin based incense for an extra dimension to the fragrance. They can also be used to anoint just about any magical tool or spell ingredient in your magical repertoire, including yourself. ‘Anointing’ refers to applying oils to an object or person during a religious or magical ceremony as a sign of sanctification. Anointing with oils can also cleanse and purify, as well as energise an object with your magical intentions.
Dressing candles with oils is another simple and effective use of magical oils. As the candle burns down, it either releases or dispels the energy you wish to work with – depending on how you dress the candle, what phase of the moon you are working with, and the other aspects of the spell. As a rule, anoint towards the centre of the candle for attracting, and from the centre out for releasing or banishing, and attract during a waxing moon, and dispel during a waning moon.
Essential oils are incredibly useful for natural housekeeping. They differ from fragrance oils in that they are pure distillations from the plant, not a blend of other ingredients. They can be used for disinfecting (eucalyptus oil), repelling insects such as mosquitoes (lavender oil), antibacterial purposes (tea tree, lavender, geranium and lemon), and refreshing (peppermint oil). Peppermint oil repels vermin if used undiluted on the thresholds of the home and in corners of rooms. The canny witch knows that peppermint is also a money drawing oil, and doing so would also be beneficial for abundance.
Blended oils are a popular way to attract or dispel particular energies. They’re easy to make at home if you already know which oils you prefer and which are most beneficial to you. And of course, there are various books available on the subject of magical oils which will give instructions on how to blend your own. We offer anointing oils by both Anna Riva and Pagan Dreams, in a variety of blends to reflect the many needs of the modern pagan – jinx removal, courage, purification, fast money and fast luck oil, to name a few.
The beauty of oils is in their versatility; they can be used just about anywhere without raising eyebrows. Many business owners use magical oils on their business premises, for example. And of course, by anointing yourself, you can carry their magical essences with you wherever you go, attracting good things to you with ease. Don’t be without these staples of natural magic in your daily spiritual practice.
Closely associated with the element of air, incense is a staple of esoteric practice in diverse spiritualities across the globe, and has been used throughout history. Blended or grain incense is often composed of gums or resins, spices, and other substances that are burned for the sweet smells they produce. Modern witches still use ingredients favoured by the ancients in many of their incense blends, such as frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, and sweetgrass.
Like magical oils, their uses are widely varied. Incense can be used for purification, consecration, money drawing, protection, love and just about everything else besides, and few altars are to be found without an incense burner or censer. Pagans often pass magical tools through incense smoke as part of the consecration or dedication process. Incense is also often also seen as an offering to the deities to which the altar or temple room is dedicated.
As with fragrance oils, the scent of incense transforms a space for ritual purposes, altering our conscious state. Not all incenses are pleasant, but each fragrance is evocative – clearing the mind, inducing clarity and relaxation, and creating the ambience required for spellwork. We also stock reed diffusers which give off a continuous, pure fragrance which is subtler than incense smoke, but can still be put to the purpose of scenting a room for ritual work.
Purists prefer grain incense but the convenience of cone incense or incense sticks is undeniable. It is difficult to make your own incense sticks and cones, however blending grain incense to create your own desired effect is easy once you know how. We offer a variety of herbs, woods and resins for this purpose. In order to release the incense smoke, use a smouldering charcoal disc (light it and wait for it to turn grey before use) and a heat-proof dish, and you can even add a few magical oils to the blend for added punch.
It is also possible to dedicate incense to a particular purpose or intention, which is useful if you didn’t make it yourself but wish to personalise it for your goals. Simply focus on your intent, and stir or swirl your granular incense three times while speaking a few words of dedication over it. For example: ‘I dedicate this incense to Hecate and all the magic I will perform in Her name,’ or ‘I dedicate this incense to achieving my career goals. May its influence help me flourish.’
Another important purpose of incense is smudging, or cleansing through smoke. You can use all types of incense for this, including smudge sticks, and can even just smoulder fresh or dried herbs of your choosing. Sage is a popular herb for smudging, and sandalwood smoke is particularly purifying. Pass your magical tools through purifying smoke to cleanse them before and after use, and cleanse yourself by passing the herbal smoke over your body from head to toe. This is a remarkably powerful blessing to perform for others, too, and helps clear away the blockages of the mundane world, allowing magic to flow.
If in doubt about how to use your incense, remember: its smoke carries our prayers on the air to the heavens, and, if you believe in such things, the gods therein.