This incense is created with plants from an ecosystem that has been much maligned and then mostly forgotten. They are the northern fen plants. The place where Druids left gifts to the Goddess and one of the places they built floating villages to live in her midst. As the religions of Abraham conquered the North Countries, persecuting and suppressing all aspects of the great goddess, her places of worship and familiars were colonized, conquered or demonized. The watery, liminal places where it is easy to slip into the metaphysical background of the world, were brought under tight control as all contact with the divine was to be mediated by the Church. These Northern fen plants, whose fragrance is not dark and putrid, as you might expect, is rather similar to forest nutmeg and fruity like wild apples, citrus or pomegranates. It is significant that all these plants, that grow in a liminal place between water and land, have been used medicinally to heal the watery systems of the human body and spiritually in lucid dream work.
This price is for 12-13 pastilles in a nest of Ledum, packed in an amber glass jar, to protect this mythic blend. Also with each jar comes a packet of Tea herbs and a sample of whole Ledum leaves to burn alone on the heater.
Sweet Gale (Myrica gale) resin - wildcrafted
Labrador Tea (Ledum/Rhodendren groenlandicum) leaves-wildcrafted
Angelica (Angelica atropurpea) seeds - wild crafted
Larch (Larix larcinia) twigs, needles, wood-wildcrafted
White Cedar/Arbor vitae (Thuja Officinalis) young tips-wildcrafted
Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) resin infused bark
The fruity smell of the fen incense plants is an aspect of the goddess. Fruits have always been associated with the goddesses and as symbols of immortality, plenty, and fertility. Demeter is the goddess of fruits of the earth and at the center of the Eleusian mysteries. In Norse folklore, the Goddess Idunn was the keeper of the fruits which she gave to the other gods and goddess to keep them forever young. In Celtic tradition, Avalon was known as the Avallach, the island of apples, ruled by Fairy Queen, Morgan le Fey. The fruity and spicy fragrances in the fens is the goddess speaking.
Fens are a type of marsh lands that are common in Northern Europe and North America. They are connected to slow, but flowing water of small lakes and streams were as bogs are watered only by rain. This makes fens less acidic than bogs and their soil and water richer in nutrients. In the great ecological system that is Gaia, fens are filled with peat and plants whose roots are nature's kidneys functioning on a broad scale to filter and clean the life giving waters of the planet. Yet despite this performing, this crucial metamorphosis, fens as an ecological and energetic niche have been much maligned
I have spent a great deal of time gathering plants in the fen lands and it is one of my favorite environments. On a sunny day, the air is filled with bird song and fragrance. It is not a civilized place suitable for agriculture but rather a spot beyond the hedgerow, a untamed place for wild crafting. You would think that in this watery place it would be difficult to harvest because of an abundance of insects, but the plants keep the insects at bay with their fragrant breath. I find the plant spirits in the fen magickal and their spirits easily accessible. I like the dreamy and contemplative state of mind they put me in while harvesting. I discovered that vilification of the fens goes back thousands of years to the coming of the religions of Abraham into the North. Before that time, the Celts and Nordic people placed objects as offerings to their gods in the fens and built island villages to live in them. There is very little in the way of a written record from this time but surprisingly, the most important works of Old English literature, which is Christian in origin, deals specifically with fens. In the epic tale of the hero, "Beowulf", there are hints of what the fen is to the landscape of the wild soul.
Beowulf is an Old English Christian saga written down between 975-1025. It is a tale set in the violent, patriarchal world of Medieval Europe. At the heart of the tale, Beowulf goes to fight a monster named Grendel who is attacking a famous mead hall. Grendel lives in a fen but spends most of his time on the edges of the fen. It is Grendel's mother, a monster that has no name, who is the real inhabitant of the fen and Beowulf enters the fen to kill her. Grendel's mother is described as a descendant of the biblical Cain, who was the first murderer. This is odd because it means that Grendel's Mother survived the biblical deluge which supposedly only the Noah and his family survived. This is the first indication that Grendel's mother is not only a being of significant power who can survive in water but is a metaphor for an earlier matrilineal goddess who lives outside of the Christian God's plan.
Grendel's mother not only lives in the fen she is the fen. Grendels mother is described as "Brooding in the mind". The water in the fen is always moving. It is described as "sundgebland" (surging waters) which suggest a churning, almost internal motion that can easily be seen as the deep subconscious landscape of the mind. The fen represents the parts of the mind which are outside of the conscious control, and therefore outside of society and the Church. She is the unknown before and after life, she is the liminal space of the fen
In order to enter the fen Beowulf and his companions have to go through a tightly constricted passageway similar to a birth canal. This type of entry into an initiatory space would have been familiar to people living in pre-Christian Europe similar to the caves they used as places of worship. These caves were figured as wombs within the earth by the people who used them. They were certainly areas of transition, as their continued association with shamanism and ecstatic ritual in their wall paintings shows. They were also associated heavily with a pregnant female deity, who symbolized both birth and death; birth, because of the heavily pregnant state and exaggerated breasts and hips of the effigies painted and crafted in various materials throughout Europe; and death because of the practice of burying people within the caves in the foetal position. This, anthropologists ague is the archetypal figure out of which the dualistic goddess myth arose.
The fen is the liminal space of this ancient, great goddess. It was the Lady of the Waters that taught the Druidic Physicians of Maydduai the healing power of plants. The fens were vilified by the conquering Christians as they strove to suppress the Druidic traditions. The locations of many of the Christian monasteries during the Anglo-Saxon period were situated at the edges of the fens and other watery places so that not only could they be near to the ultimate spiritual transition to heaven but monitor the comings and goings in the ancient sacred places. After the conquest, stories of demons and malevolent fairies living in the fens began to be told. No doubt these were goddess worshippers hiding in the fens refusing to be converted.
Myrica Gale: Sweetgale filters and moves the water along in the fens just as she does in our bodies for she balances our kidneys and acts as a diuretic. Anti-fungal and antibiotic she eliminates toxins as she flushes them out treating both wounds and acne. Befitting her place in the liminal place of the fens, Myrica Gale is used in lucid dream work. Her wild nutmeg/pomemgrante fragrance that protects her from bugs also makes a pleasant insect repellent for humans.
Labrador Tea: Just as Labrador Tea filters water in the environment on a grand scale, as a tea, she has medicinal properties that filter our internal water systems acting as a tonic for our kidneys and lymphatic system. Her honeyed hash fragrance helps protect her from all manner of insects and rot in the fen lands and she is also an anti-inflammatory and immune enhancer for humans. The woolly undersides of her leaves help protect her leaves from the harsh winter winds and cold. The Strong tea of her leaves, topically applied, can help us with a wide variety of itchy skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. She is an analgesic and a sedative. The fresh plants not only breathe their particular perfume but ether, as well. On a warm morning the air can become quite intoxicating. While the ethered breath of the living plants is not present in the dried plants, shamans around the world have heated the dried leaves as sacred incense in sweat lodge, lucid dreaming and vision quest ceremonies to aid in their journeys.
Angelica: Angelica also works with purifying the fluids in the body as well as making them more active and digestion easier. As well as being cleansing as an antibiotic. Her fragrance spicy/fruity is known to be emotionally calming and grounding She has a history as a sacred plant that connects heaven and earth through the hollow tube that is her stem which is topped by a radiating, spherical seed head that radiates and receives energy making the whole plant appear like a giant fairy wand. She too has the fen plant quality of being useful in lucid dreamwork.
Larch: Larch trees are one of the few trees that can grow with their roots in water. Her fragrance is ethereal, lemony and pear like. Like the fen plants, this tree stimulates the movement of the bodies fluid, specifically the blood, lymph and kidneys. She is another diuretic cleansing and moving water along in the body as in the fens. The sacred energy of larch trees are acknowledged in northern cultures around the world. The animist of Siberia venerate larch trees as home to forest spirits and attach precious objects to their branches. People in the Nordic countries believe larch trees are a dancing and resting place for forest and mountain fairies. The fragrance of larch infuses the atmosphere with a high vibration field that facilitates out-of-body and lucid states.
White Cedar/Arbor vitae: White Cedar, "The Tree of Life", is more comfortable at the edge of the fen. Her citrus/camphor smelling wood and leaves have been used since ancient times in as incense and medicine. Her medicine is so powerful that low dosages are usually recommended. Powerfully anti biotic, antifungal and diuretic she is also a water purifier and cleanser. The Ojibwe people of North America call her "Grandmother Cedar"
Balsam Fir: Balsam Fir is also more comfortable at the fen's edge. She is a tree that has long been considered a shamanic ladder to worlds connecting the sky and the earth. It is her elevating lemon/citrus smell we now associate with Christmas. Growing by the fen, she extends this mystical ladder downward into the water. Her bark is dotted with resinous blisters and her foliage has two resin channels running down either sides of the needles. So, packed with resin, The young branches make a great fire starter. In Europe, fir resin might very well be the oldest incense material of them all.
Be's incense is unique, I believe in all the world.... They are not just to fill your space with scent, but they are invitations to enter her forest, to hear her scent stories so carefully and sustainably told. Each is a journey into a season, a forgotten wild place, an old legend filled with aromatic wisdom. Please gently heat these hand-rolled pastilles on the Golden Lotus to appreciate all the lovely botanicals. It is best to “listen” to Be’s incense and take a moment to enjoy the journey.