How to Use Incense: The Art of Slow Living

Summer always seems to pass too quickly, especially when you’re having fun. It’s so easy to get caught up in making plans, seeing those plans through, winding down, and rinsing/repeating without ever stopping to consider your own wellness. This leads to a life witnessed rather than lived, full of moments rather than experiences. 

That’s why making the effort to slow down occasionally is so important for a full and nourished soul. You’ll get even more enjoyment out of life if your experiences occur in a carefully crafted, comfortable environment that encourages wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. 

AMAN - Incense + Smoke

You can accomplish this by establishing strong rituals, such as scheduled screen breaks, outdoor activity, or meditation. One highly effective ritual is the burning of incense. You’ve probably seen (or smelled) incense burning in one form or another before. But “incense” is a broad term for rituals that have been practiced for thousands of years, with combinations of various plants, minerals, and even man-made substances. All with the power to elevate and shift the energy in your home to promote a more grounded and centered state.

What type of incense is out there? 

SAGE: One of the oldest known forms of incense. Sage burning - or smudging - is used to clear negative energy, deter bacteria in the environment, and calm the mind. 

 

Sage

PALO SANTO: Native to South America, Palo Santo (Spanish for “holy wood”) has a refreshing, uplifting smoke that people in tropical or humid climates use to repel insects. Its scent has been said to encourage creativity through the wakeful tranquility it brings to the atmosphere. Its primarily used to clear away negative energy in order to bring in more uplifting energy.

Palo Santo

SWEET GRASS: While Palo Santo and Sage are typically used to repel negative energy, Sweet Grass is best for welcoming in positive energy, so it is often used in combination with other incenses. Sweet grass can be found in meadows or fields all across the United States and is most easily recognized by its natural braiding, which holds it together and makes it perfect for smudging rituals.

INCENSE STICKS: When it comes to incense, these are the most common and widely available forms. These sticks are light, aromatic, and easy to find in dozens of different scents. While the most convenient, however, they lose potency - these are best for the beginner who wants to get a taste of how incense rituals might improve their overall quality of life. 

INCENSE ROPES: Prepared in the tradition of Tibetan monks, these are among the most potent form of incense available. The incense is bundled in rice paper, tightly rolled by hand, and wrapped into thick braids that, when lit, produces a thick plume of smoke. 

Incense Ropes

If you’re ready for them, our favorite incense ropes around are created by UnitedOther (available on Cozierstudios.com). The incense ropes are hand made, dyed, cut and soaked. Their selection of ropes includes all of the above scents and many more for the most powerful cleansing experience you can buy. You can choose from the brilliantly named selection - including Cut + Clear, Solar Return, and Abundance. Once you’ve found the incense rope for you, you’re ready to perform a ritual that slows down, cleanses, and invigorates your spirit. 

Here’s a step by step process for how to perform an incense ritual: 

  1. Gather materials
    To perform a proper incense ritual, you will need: 
  • United Other incense rope or smudger of choice
  • A fireproof bowl or ashtray 
  • Matches (lighters can work, but the fluid can interfere with the scent and energy) 

  • Light the rope
    Ignite the end of the rope with a match and wave it gently to smolder the ember until it begins to smoke. 

  • Spread the smoke in the area
    Move around the room, waving your hand around the air. This is a great chance to dance around your ritual space if you’d like! Just be sure to hold the rope over the fireproof bowl so as not to drop ash all over the floor. Or repeat a mantra over and over that you’d like to bring into your space. 

  • Extinguish the rope
    When you are satisfied with the spread of incense smoke throughout your room/home, extinguish the rope in your fireproof container and pack it away until next time.