Incense Journey - by Katlyn 2012

A scented journey....created for Gary…2013

This is a sampling of the finest (and strangest) incense obtainable from around the world and we want to share it with you.

Many of these are my creations and some from other incense artists like myself, some rare and costly, some just simple and beautiful. All are placed in this scented journey box for your enjoyment with great love and gratitude .

Just plug in the Golden Lotus heater and turn it up to full, wait a couple minutes….place some incense in a little foil cup ,place on the heater - and whoosh….your away!

Remember to use the foil cups, a new one for each incense. A small pinch will do to start. And also to take a “rest” between scents so your nose does not get tired and lost!

 Just have everyone lay back , listen and then smell…..let the fragrance and music take you to other worlds.

The Japanese call the experience of smelling  incense “listening” it takes involvement and emersion. 

Some scents will be challenging, unusual and over the top, but go with the journey and let it lead you.

Enjoy the trip!

 

 

 

First stop….The Purple Pouch , Agarwood

Let's  start with the very best. 

 In this pouch are 2 types Agarwood anointed with the finest Oud (Agarwood oil)  Place a few chips on the heater …It will take a few moments, you are about to experience one of the most precious incenses of all time.

 Agarwood , or Aloeswood, is  the scent of Emperors and Sultans, Courtesans and Healers. One of the most  precious and mysterious things on earth.

Agarwood can be an acquired taste, at least to Western sensibilities. Deep, rich, earthy and personal, its sweet yet sharp balsamic woodiness will enter you through all of the your senses. Beyond a pleasant smell, Agarwood will softly invade your lungs, your mind, your body and spirit, taking total possession of you.

The body heats, the heart expands, other scents retreat in the presence of oud. Oud is sexuality, passion, ecstasy and love. Oud is wild, he is primitive, he is the ancientness, holiness and sensuality of the world and all of its history.

He is compelling, in a way that satisfies the Japanese obsession with subtlety and refinement, and has gripped the hearts and souls of the people of the Arabian Gulf. The appreciation of agarwood in the rest of the world runs sporadically like veins of resin through a piece of wood.

One of the legends of the east has an agarwood cutting being the only plant Adam was allowed to take from the Garden of Eden.

Agarwood is an aphrodisiac, both in oil form, and as incense. It is a diaphoretic; it will make you sweat, and beyond that, will connect you with something of the spirit world. It is important to note that there is no research done on this oil. We have access only to our own experiences. Oud symbolizes and calls forth that which connects us to the ancient, to the roots and soul of the earth, to the Garden of Eden and the heart of God. 

Now  to  Green Frankincense  -  the king of incense

Place a tear in a foil cup and put it on the heater….Wait for it….This will take us to the Middle East, plains of Oman and The Mountains of the Moon

Oman Green Frankincense, Called Hougary, (Boswellia Sacra) is one of Earth’s greatest treasures.

In the ancient world it  was valued more than gold . The scent is historically connected with healing and spirituality in almost every culture and religion. 

In Oman it is considered a gift of God. The trees are not intentionally planted or watered, they are nurtured only by nature. The people whose land contains a frankincense tree are considered to be blessed.

This frankincense comes from the Dhofar region of southern Oman Covering about 100,000 square kilometers, which borders Yemen to the west and Saudi Arabia to the north. The trees do not like moisture and thrive in barren areas cooled by sea winds. The ancient twisted trees with crinkly leaves spring unexpectedly to life every September with an explosion of white star flowers. An incision is made into the silvery bark, from which drips the fragrant “pearls”, white globules of resin called luban. Left to dry, this will turn transparent after about two weeks. 

The highest quality has various tints of green to it. Of the frankincense resins from Oman, Green Hougary is the most sought after of all.

 

The next stop is truly exotic and in the realm of the unobtainium 

 Alis Roadside Lozenges  Not for the timid, a guilty pleasure of an incense…. 


This blend travels from one end of the globe to the other and was created by alchemist of incense.

This formula is based upon those revealed in manuscripts from the Mohammedan courts, circa 678 AD, and takes one year to create. 

Ali is the lost bakhoor you always dreamed of finding from some decadent past.

... Amorous and animalic....Ali, which means excellent and fine, is just that. But it is also a guilty pleasure when one reads and smells the precious ingredients. Those sought after rare kind of things from some ancient formulary.

It contains the following ingredients:

Siberian Musk Deer grains and tincture (yes,  I have seen photos of the very Musk Deer hunter allowed to trap only a few each year, knee deep in snow!)

Ambergris and Ambergris tincture (sweet/dark for both)

Mysore Sandalwood vintage 2002

Tahitian Vanilla

Labdanum-Crete

Spikenard

Orris Root

Henna

Benzoin-Siam

Antique Clove Oil

Saigon Cinnamon Tincture

Agarwood-Burma vintage 1998

Green Hougary Frankincense

 

 Next , Into the Woods,  the Wildwood

Place a pinch on the heater….Let this one takes you into green forest warmed by the sun…..Light and heat streaming through the boughs and releasing the sweet balsamic scent of the sap, the blood of trees.

A Greenman blend of many woodland allies. The roots and branches that connect earth and sky with  tribal earth magic.

It contains many woods and resins form many different forests.

Green, but golden Fir Balsam and Port Orford Cedar, I used both the green tips , powdered wood , and the essential oils

Juniper from the foot of Mt. Shasta and Western Grand Fir  from Oregon.

Holy Wood,  Palo Santo ,  and Sweet grass to bring  sacredness.

Traditional Tree resins, Pinon Pine, Black Frankincense, and the best Copal Blanco (Carried by Robin Sol from Central Mexico), bringing a note of clear fresh camphor and pine. 

Himalyan Juniper from Nepal

 Western Cedar oil, Wild crafted Siskiyou Cypress and OregonTree Balsam

 

Ready to journey into the dark?

Place a piece of Deep Earth on the heater  


 

Dirty sweet and sexy - Dark notes like dancers by fire light – IO Pan!

Amberous Labdanum with patchouli, Black Frankincense blended with oakmossed-out Aloeswood, pregnant with the ever present figs and blackberries, Vetiver from India, shrouded in a deep shade of incense and woods.

 

Now something ethereal….and very special,

Sandalwood and Ambergris

 

A Goddess dancing over the waves…an offering of sweet smoke.

Pale Indian heartwood sandal soaked in a tincture of Ambergris to preserve and enhance its beauty.

Ambergris is the strange ephemeral whale spume that is sought after on beached worldwide. A waxy excretion formed in the intestines of sperm whales (thanks to their inability to digest squid beaks), is one of the most sought-after substances in the world. Alchemical in essence and a mystery of nature .

If Agarwood is the Father of incense then Sandalwood is the Mother, eternally spiritual and revered.

In India the heartwood is said to have divine status.  There is a species of sandalwood that grows only in the heavenly world spreading its aroma throughout the heavenly empire.

The Hindu Goddess Parvati who was a consort of Lord Shiva used sandalwood paste that was mixed with her own flesh and clay to make Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is the elephant god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune who can also help remove obstacles. Buddhists value the wood highly for its aromatic and cooling nature, using it to carve

Buddhas and other sacred images. 

May this sacred incense clear your path …

 

Journey back to earth with Breu Claro the resin of the Rainforest...

This is the incense of shamans and plant teachers, pure and simple and sent directly from our friends in rain forests of Brazil.

We see  our brothers and sisters who celebrate the Vine of Soul, holy Ayahuasca. Where all is green and lush  - they collect this resin from the forest floor to burn at the ceremonies. It is the incense of Ayahuasca –

Deeply green, cleansing  - aromatically sweet and uplifting. It is the “frankincense of Amazonia”. 

 May it ground and calm you, helping you  connect to the deep levels of your soul.

 

Next to Greece - Byzantine incense made by Priests – “Drops of Amber

A priest in Athens  first send this incense to us.

This is the smoke of Masses and Monasteries with a touch of Amber added. These drops of resin are made in Greece by some very kind men of God. I soak them in fragrant amber oil and coat them with ground frankincense.

The style is called Byzantine . Ground resins are treated with oils and formed into coils, then cut by the hands of holy men to use in church.

 

Now some holy smoke our own gardenpurifying White Sage

To clear the Body , mind and Spirit (light this directly, you want this smoke)

 

On to Ishtar  a classic incense…. 

 Bringing to mind an ancient desert queen with riches just arrived from the Incense Road.

A scent for Goddesses of another time.

Black Frankincense (Luban Aswad) from the Dhofar region of Oman, known as "Mughsyl".

 “These trees are stout and wise yet still approachable. I call my favorite grove the Old Lady trees because that's how they seem to me.The scent, as you know, has a spicy orange pine sparkle, bright and happy and purely Dhofari, quite unrelated to the lemony notes of Somali. 

The road that bisects the home of these trees, the road to Yemen, and the mountains themselves are called "The mountains of the Moon”. This is because these cliffs soar so high that to be on top of them was surely coming close to the moon! But I think it also has to do with the strange landscape--the limestone, the rocks, the bizarre vegetation......they could be from another planet. I certainly don't relish being there as darkness comes. The whole area is inhabited by djinn. Salalah is a center for magic, and Djinn and witches are pretty common. But you can see how the rocks could come alive in your mind even without the magic. ”

Blended with Styrax Bark from Turkey, from which the famed LiquidAmber originates.Agarwood powder from Vietnam – Sandalwood from Indian through Japan. And Labdanum harvested the “old way” in Crete – With leather thongs and iron cauldrons.

 

And last our incense jewel....Kyphi

From ancient texts on Eygpt:

“At nightfall, they burnt Kyphi, the famous compound incense, which was made of sixteen ingredients: Most of the ingredients that are taken into this compound, in as much as the yhave aromatic properties, give forth a sweet emanation and a beneficent exhalation, by which the air is changed, and the body moved gently and softly by the current, acquires a temperament conducive to sleep; and the distress and strain of our daily cares, as if they were knots, these exhalations relax and loosen without the aid of wine”


Kyphi is made of powdered resins,preciuos woods,  spices and botanicals, carefully melded together . An Alchemical process utilizing aromatics, time, intent , spirits of honey and a bit of heat.

This Kyphi is my most recent re-creation of the powerful fumigation from the ancient temples of Horus and Isis. Based on the latest research from the Edfu temple and a recent study of ceramic dishes used in the preparation of kyphi, this incense contains components of great of magic that were dedicated to the gods of the Ennead. Inspired by historic Egyptian texts and meticulous study of the incense arts . 

The care and physical preparation of this blend also follows ancient tradition. It takes no less than a month to combine and blend all the components, and at least another six months of aging and curing before this sacred fumigation is ready for offering. 



This Kyphi Contains:

Hougary Frankincense(Black and Green), Yemeni Myrrh, Labdanum, Persian Galbanum, Turkish Storax, Chios Mastic, Burgundy Spruce resin,  Aloeswood, Fine Honey Mead and other many other sacred spices. 

 

 

With Love and Sweet Smoke, Katlyn

 

This article was published on Saturday 18 October, 2014.