'The Art Of Healing' - 'Burning Incense'
The word incense is derived from the Latin 'incendere' meaning to burn.
Incense is made from biotic materials burned to release a pleasant smell through smoke. It has been used for centuries by many religious cultures as part of their 'spiritual practice' - 'prayer' - 'meditation.' It has also been used by many cultures as aromatherapy for healing and other practical uses for example, simply to cover bad smells and to repel insects. Its roots can be traced as far back as humans discovered the use of fire, in that certain trees like cedar, berries, resins and roots when burnt would automatically give off an aromatic smell.
HISTORY OF INCENSE
Its roots can be traced to all the early major civilisations. The ancient Egyptians are known to have used it to mask bad smells and to 'dispel evil demons.' It was also used as an offering to placate the gods.
The ancient Chinese also used incense in their religious ceremonies using herbs such as cinnamon, cassia and sandalwood.
Incense was so popular that a global trade developed known as the 'incense trade route.' It was a network of interconnected land and sea trading routes, spanning Egypt, the Levant and the Mediterranean, North Africa, Arabia and India. The main function of this trade route was to transport Arabian frankincense and myrrh as well as other goods, but these particular items were the main items. This trade route continued until the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Korean Buddhist monks brought incense to Japan in the 6th century.
USE OF INCENSE
Scents and fragrances can be used to induce specific emotional responses. For example, to assist in relaxation, sleep - as an aid to concentration and motivation and to stimulate creativity. In view of its ability to induce these wide emotional states, the burning of incense has been used in a wide range of activities, both recreational and for specific religious and spiritual purposes.
You will often find incense scent guides useful in advising you as to what particular scent is appropriate for any particular situation. Whilst these are useful as general guides - ultimately you should be prepared to listen to your own body and see what 'emotions' and 'psychological states' are induced in you, when you burn incense.
Whilst you may not be burning incense in a 'temple,' 'church,' or other 'sacred space,' the act of burning incense in and of itself should be regarded as a 'performance.'
Whilst you may not regard the burning of incense as being 'sacred' - you should approach lighting a stick of incense or burning incense in an incense burner with a 'sufficient degree of seriousness' - if you wish to 'attain' the 'emotional state' that you desire.
Therefore, if you want to burn incense to help you relax, the intention of desiring to relax should be there as you 'perform' the burning of the incense. Of course, if you have any particular spiritual or religious discipline that too would be added to your 'performance of the act' of burning incense. The point to remember is that at the higher levels of Existence i.e. the 'subtle energies' which exist and to which we are all connected - we affect these, with our intentions - whether we know of it or not. The burning of incense can be regarded as one of the 'pathways' to 'influencing' these 'higher dimensional realms.'
INCENSE & HEALING
Incense has been used for healing - frankincense for example, is known to be an antidepressant i.e. 'it raises the spirit.'
Insomnia (inability to sleep) is increasingly common - lavender has been traditionally associated with aiding sleep. Burning lavender incense therefore can be used to assist sleep.
Sexual potency can also be assisted, burning incense such as jasmine, vanilla and rose, are powerful scents that liven and invigorate sexual energies. Cinnamon is also known to increase the 'passions' and is especially recommended for 'loving moments.'
Serotonin is produced in the brain and is regarded as a natural mood stabilizer, this helps sleeping, eating and digestion. Serotonin also helps reduce depression, anxiety and headaches. Incense assists in the movement of serotonin through the brain. Rose scented incense is often recommended for this purpose.
A number of floral based ingredients have antibacterial properties - and therefore the burning of incense purifies the atmosphere, giving a powerful sense of freshness and of a new beginning to any environment.
INCENSE & HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS / SPIRITUALITY
Burning incense is a powerful tool and adjunct to 'spiritual practice.' It is widely used by those who practice yoga and meditation. The various aromas given off by burning different types of incense have different 'vibratory levels.' The rate of these 'vibratory levels' induces certain 'psychological states' in an individual. The higher the 'vibratory level,' the higher the 'state of consciousness.'
Many people burn incense to aid in relaxation, certain aromatic scents induce this state.
The process is straight forward, simply light some incense - pick a scent which 'resonates' with you (i.e. you find pleasurable.) You will find that there are not only many different smells, but 'qualities' - which are dependent upon the different brands.
In addition to relaxation the burning of incense can be used actively to reduce 'stress.' Again, the purpose is to carry out a 'pleasurable act' - and therefore the burning of incense in this situation should be 'performed' - with the intention to reduce any stress you feel. You will often find 'aromatic guides' which will suggest to you, what particular incense should be burned to relieve stress. These are useful but ultimately you must find those aromatic smells which 'resonate' with you - and which you feel will assist you in 'relaxing' or 'removing' stress.
The burning of incense should be regarded as a means of 'Self Empowerment' - do not follow 'slavishly' something simply because you have been told that you should feel a certain way. Of course - initially try it and see what results you get. In this way incense becomes a powerful tool in your 'natural quest' - for 'Self Mastery' and 'Self Alchemy.'
ADDITIONAL READING / EXPLORATION:
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