Incense burning originated long before humans ever invented incense sticks or cones. In fact, the original incense came in the form of resins, i.e., pleasant-smelling matter (usually sap) from a tree or a plant, crystallized into a rock-like substance.
Again, rather than lighting a stick or a cone and letting it burn, you can burn resins– such as frankincense resin– by setting them atop a smoldering charcoal tablet. As a result, you’ll enjoy a sweet, relaxing aroma that can aid in meditation, divine connection, and more!
What is frankincense resin?
Frankincense resin originates from Boswellia trees, which appear in parts of Africa and the Middle East. The resin itself appears as a small, pale yellow crystal, which is burned to release its aromatic properties.
For thousands of years, religious traditions have used this delicious-smelling incense for a multitude of purposes. In fact, around the time of the birth of Jesus Christ, frankincense was incredibly popular and valuable– so much so, that the three wise men presented frankincense at Jesus’ birth!
In addition, frankincense also has roots in ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures, just to name a few!
Likewise, frankincense is still useful today; these days, most users burn small bits of resin on charcoal tablets (like the ones which are used to light hookah) for the purpose of smudging and cleansing energy in and around your surroundings. Read on to find out how to burn this divine incense, and what you may experience when you do!
How to burn frankincense resin?
To burn your frankincense resin, you will need:
- A pea-sized piece of resin or a ½ tsp (about 2 grams) scoop of powdered resin.
- Charcoal tablet or “puck”.
- Censer (heat-resistant dish or plate).
- Lighter and tongs.
- A small amount of sand or ash.
Steps to burn frankincense resin:
- Gather a small mound of sand or ash in your censer.
- Light your charcoal tablet until it begins to spark. Place it down on the sand/ash mound (using tongs), and allow it to continue burning until it has burned enough for a thin layer of ash to cover the charcoal tablet.
- Place your resin on the charcoal tablet and allow it to burn.
5 spiritual benefits of burning frankincense resin
1. Cleanses and balances the mind, body, and spirit
Frankincense, similar to Sage or Palo Santo, acts as an energetic purifier. For years, frankincense has been used in religious and spiritual spaces to cleanse one’s aura. This means that burning frankincense resin will help to cleanse and realign your chakras, leading to a feeling of balance and ease.
You can use this resin for smudging while reciting mantras to help cleanse yourself, certain objects and your home/surroundings.
2. Reduces stress
As a result of this balancing and purification action, frankincense will naturally help to relieve stress. Burning frankincense may lead to a clearer, calmer mind– and it may actually have beneficial psychoactive properties! Read on for more on that.
3. Assists mindful meditation practice
Frankincense’s stress-relief properties, of course, make it a powerful meditation aid. Burning frankincense resin while you meditate will help you to remain mindful, observing your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in whirlwinds of stress or worry.
4. Increases your connection to the divine
Of course, the sacred incense that was present at the birth of Jesus and also used even earlier in Chinese and Egyptian cultures (just to name a few), is the perfect aromatic to help you connect with the divine. Religious and spiritual people have used frankincense for centuries to help them get in touch with God, their spirit guides, ancestors, angels, and departed loved ones.
5. May help relieve anxiety and depression
Perhaps most interestingly, a scientific study has suggested that burning frankincense resin may relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Although this sacred incense is not a magic cure for mental health issues, if you suffer from either of these ailments, frankincense may help to lessen the severity of your symptoms and support other forms of treatment such as therapy.
3 Resins That Go Well With Frankincense
Myrrh resin, yet another incense presented at the birth of Jesus Christ, comes from a similar area as frankincense– Africa and the Middle East– although this resin comes from the Commiphora trees. Myrrh incense was traditionally used to smudge Catholic churches. Thus, spiritual practitioners use myrrh today to clear their space of negative energy.
Similar to frankincense resin, copal resin (when burned) may activate certain ion channels in the brain, which can lessen symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Many practitioners use copal in meditation, as well, as copal is known for opening and balancing the crown chakra.
Dragon’s blood resin, obtained from the dragon’s tree or Draconis palm, inspires courage when burned. This ancient incense may offer you the fearlessness and protection you desire when taking calculated risks and making leaps towards your highest potential!
Use a dish that will leave the edges of the charcoal tablet exposed:
Fire needs oxygen to survive. Thus, if you put your charcoal tablet in a small, deep dish where the tablet’s edges are closed off to air flow, your charcoal will not stay lit. Try using a shallower or larger dish instead! In addition, ensure that the dish you use is heat-resistant.
Let the charcoal burn out and cool for at least two hours before throwing away:
A lit charcoal tablet is a smoldering ember– not great to throw away in the trash while it’s still burning. To avoid accidental fires, let the charcoal tablet burn out for at least two hours. Then, use tongs to throw it away, as it may still be hot.
Use an air tight container to store your resin:
Keep your resin in an air tight container so moisture does not get to it. This will ensure that your resin burns clean and gives out a fresh aroma every time.
Summing it up
Ultimately, whether you’re a spiritual practitioner or not, frankincense – and other resins, as well can shift your mood and mindset for the better. If you experience stress or anxiety on a daily basis, or even if you’re hoping to open up to your spirit guides or to the spirit world in general, burning frankincense resin can help!
Be sure to burn it safely within sight, and always let the charcoal cool down before you toss it. Lastly, don’t forget to let go of expectations and simply allow the plant magic to work through you!