3 pieces of Ketoret wrapped in gold foil
“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
Ketoret (or Qetoret) , like Kyphi , is a renown holy temple incense used for prayer and offering in the temples of the ancient world. After years of researching and receiving many requests, I decided to try to recreate this sacred blend. This incense is very close to what I believe could be its original aroma and character, it is made with reverence and respect - to be used for spiritual work.
Offered here is an incense created in a sacred way to accompany and carry prayers to God.
The word Ketoret means something that “rises up in circles and whose aroma wafts and spreads”. In aramaic Ketoret (from the root word Kesher) it means to “connection”, or to connect with the divine.
Scholars debate its exact ingredients , and there are also formulas with 11 ingredients ( which I hope to try to make in the future) but after studying many texts this is the formula I have chosen to use.
The four components of Ketoret mentioned in the Bible are:
• Stacte (נָטָף nataf) - (I have used one part Myrrh and Myrrh essential oil)
Stacte means tear or “a dripping substance” like sap from a tree. Most agree that this terms most likely was referring to Myrrh in its purest form or possibly a balsam like storax.
• Onycha (שְׁחֵלֶת shekheleth) - (I have used one part pure Labdanum resin)
There has always been dispute over what Onycha was. Many think it was the operculum of a mollusk shell that was prepared and ground to powder. It is true that this is revered ingredients in many traditional incense formulas that acts as a fixative and blending agent. In my opinion it seems unlikely for a shellfish to be used in a Hebrew temple and Labdanum is much more likely. This sweet spicy ingredient has been used in perfumes and incense for thousands of years and grows profusely in the Middle East, specifically in Israel and Palestine. The rock rose is a bush, not a tree (the Talmud states that onycha comes from a ground plant and not a tree)
*In this batch I have added to the Raw resin ground Onycha operculum soaked in in wine and Labdanum oil
• Galbanum (חֶלְבְּנָה khelbanah) - ( I have used one part pure resin from Iran)
Galbanum (ours is from Iran) was known as the “Mother Resin” . The resin was highly treasured as a sacred substance by the ancient Egyptians as well as the Hebrews. The “green” incense of Egyptian antiquity is believed to have been Galbanum. Galbanum resin has a very intense green scent complex spicy, woody, balsam-like fragrance.
• Pure Frankincense (לְבוֹנָה זָךְ levonah zach) (I have used 3 parts Green and White Hougary, Bosellia Sacra)
Pure frankincense is the resin of a tree of the boswellia sacra species.
This incense was compounded of the best quality ingredients carefully ground and then hand formed and cured. The proportions are not exactly as mentioned in the Bible, but very close. Due to its holy nature I decided to vary it just a bit out of respect and also to soften the scent. The cut pellets are rolled in agarwood powder and wrapped in gold foil.
Everyone who has experienced it have been very moved by its unique beauty.
It can be burned on charcoal the traditional way, or on an electric heater.
Notes and quotes on Ketoret -
“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” (Revelations 8:3-4)
“ Take unto yourself sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: And you shall make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together [salted], pure and holy: And you shall beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with you: it shall be unto you most holy. And as for the perfume which you shall make, you shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto you holy for the LORD. Whosoever shall make like unto it, to enjoy the smell thereof, shall even be cut off from his people.”
-Exodus 30:34-38; 37:29.
(in the Tabernacle) The golden altar of incense sat in front of the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. It was a square with each side measuring 1.5 feet and was 3 feet high. It was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. Four horns protruded from the four corners of the altar.
God commanded the priests to burn incense on the golden altar every morning and evening, the same time that the daily burnt offerings were made. The incense was to be left burning continually throughout the day and night as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It was made of an equal part of four precious ingredients (stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense) and was considered holy. God commanded the Israelites not to use the exact formula outside the tabernacle to make perfume for their own consumption; otherwise, they were to be cut off from their people (Exodus 30:34-38).
The incense was a symbol of the prayers and intercession of the people going up to God as a sweet fragrance. God wanted His dwelling to be a place where people could come and pray .
Poured out on burning coals the incense produced a delightful aroma in the Holy Place. It was the offering of the person whose sins had been forgiven by blood and who then went on to express the fragrance of love and worship, which was most pleasing to God.
Lev 16:12 "Then Aaron shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil.
King Solomon wrote, "Oil and Qetoret make the heart rejoice" (Proverbs 27:9).