WITCHY WEDNESDAY: Making My Own Incense

Over the holiday break I got a wild hair to see about making my own cone incense.  I love burning incense almost daily, and there are lot of gorgeous fancy cone incenses being made by small companies.  I purchased handmade incense from Brothers Supply Shop as an Xmas gift and I also love Blackbird's incense, but I got curious about the freedom of making my own scent combinations.

Could I make a decent version of cone incense at home?  I found this video on White Witch Parlour's YouTube channel and got inspired.

[If you like this video, be sure to watch her other videos, they're all great.]

My first attempt was made with ingredients I already had in my cupboard to make my own teas: elderberries, sassafras, etc.  I also used a small, shallow, stone mortar & pestle I already had.  The results weren't great but they were encouraging.  I found that my mortar & pestle wasn't deep enough to get a good grind, and that I wasn't strong enough yet to pulverize the sticky elderberries. I shaped my incense into a bumpy cone and left it to dry, and it burned alright a few days later. I didn't love the smell but it was alright.

A few days later I was in Marin County to drop off some garlands at The Herban Garden.  I stopped to get my favorite coconut latte at Sol Food and while I was waiting for it, I noticed they had a wood mortar & pestle for sale for $12.  It had a deeper & narrower bowl, so I bought it. Perhaps my all-time most unexpected impulse purchase!

A better mortar & pestle

A better mortar & pestle

On my way back from Fairfax, I decided to stop in to see the new, expanded location of Gathering Thyme, a wonderful herb store in San Rafael, CA.  While I was there I picked up some herbs for a new batch of incense:

  • rose petals
  • vitex
  • frankincense
  • angelica root
  • witch hazel
Rose petals, vitex, frankincense, angelica root, witch hazel

Rose petals, vitex, frankincense, angelica root, witch hazel

I chose them like I choose my essential oils, I just go by smell and vibe. I trust my intuition. I don't really know what I'm doing but I have faith it'll all work out fine. That's my own method, it's not necessarily the best method!

My new mortar & pestle worked much better, but I still don't yet have the strength to really get a good grind going.  The frankincense proved especially tricky, so I only got a bit of it.  But overall my consistency was better than the first batch, as was the scent.

These cones put off more smoke than a stick incense, so next time I make them I'll form the cones to be even skinnier at the bottom.

This homemade incense is definitely not better than incense you can buy, but it is totally personalized and I enjoyed the process of making it. I can see how it could become a pleasurable ritual for setting intentions, or a good tool for visualization and meditation.

Thanks White Witch Parlour for the inspiration!