The Pagan Blog Project: I is for Incense Stove
At the beginning of this year I had big plans to learn how to make my own incense. I’ve done some research about how to make dough for stick incense. Unfortunately, all the materials together including the herbal variety would cost a pretty penny to get started, so I just haven’t gotten around to it seriously yet.
However, while researching different incense making methods, I ran across an idea I’d never heard of before. This was an incense stove.
An incense stove is often used by incense makers to test the balance of the various scents they are using. The idea of the stove is to put a small bowl above a candle. The candle heats up the herbs in the bowl and releases their fragrance. This is especially nice if you prefer the smell of the herbs themselves undiluted by the additives often found in incense cones and sticks.
There are probably fancy ways to make your stove, but it can be a really cheap project as well and still yield great results. Here’s the basics:
- Aluminum Foil
- Fireproof Stand (one can be crafted from metal coat-hangers)
- Stone or Other Fireproof Flat Surface
My stove is pictured above. I reused the metal stand of a candle holder, the glass part of which had broken years ago. Then I took a small piece of foil and wrapped it around the top, making sure I left a couple of inches of air space so the flame wouldn’t heat up the foil too much. I placed the whole apparatus on a soapstone.
My mixtures right now consist mostly of what I have on hand, which generally includes rose, rosemary, lavender, and/or mugwort. As my herb collection grows, I will certainly be trying different things! I especially like to use the stove for rituals because it feels more personal than lighting a stick that I bought, plus the bowl makes it feel more like an offering. It’s even better because I can adjust the mixture based on what I want or who I am offering to.
As with all things involving fire, do not leave your incense stove burning unattended. While I haven’t had an issue, the herbs do get smoky once they get hot enough, so it’s best to keep an eye on them. Also remember to research any herb before you start using it, and test it in a small amount first to make sure you don’t have some kind of allergy to it.