The Essential Role of Incense in Wicca and Pagan Rituals

Wicca and Pagan Rituals The Essential Role of Incense

Wiccans follow the so-called Wiccan Rede, an ethical code that states “If it harm none, do what ye will.”

Pagan practices foster a sense of environmental mastery by tapping into interconnectedness through magical spells (Ruickbie, 2011). This sense of environmental mastery also helps promote personal development. Among other things, this can help heal a person emotionally and physically.

1. Burning Incense

Wicca is one of the most popular modern Pagan religions. Its followers, called Wiccans, believe in the goddess and horned god and see them as omnipresent in nature.

Many of these religions use incense to help create a sacred space. It helps to cleanse the space of any negative energies and can be used for a variety of rituals.

Incense sticks and cones are made from a combination of herbs, woods, oils and perfumes that are burned. The incense is often scented with sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh. When burning incense, be sure to keep the fire away from any flammable materials. Once the incense has burned down to an ember, it should be snuffed out and placed in a bowl of sand.

The Pagan belief system is based on a coven of equals, the rites of the year and the Sabbats. They also believe in the so-called Wiccan Rede, an ethical code that states, “If it harms none, do what you will.” Wiccans practice duotheism (belief in a god and a goddess) but some practice polytheism or pantheism as well.

2. Creating a Ritual Space

Pagans believe that divinity is present in nature and all of its elements. They also believe that there are many entities beyond the human realm, including spirits and otherworldly beings. As a result, ritual provides a way for practitioners to interact with these entities and their magic in a liminal space that is separated from the mundane world but very visible within it.

To achieve a liminal experience, participants in ritual must commit to the ritual and become fully immersed in it. This commitment explains why some people experience flow during ritual. Lurhmann (2005) found that rituals often include a combination of elements that foster flow experiences: participants are focused on the activity, there is a distortion in their spatial and temporal awareness, and they have limited reflective self-consciousness.

One of the best ways to create a ritual space is by cleansing it beforehand. This could include smudging or asperging the area with smoke, or simply by making sure it is clean and free of clutter before beginning.

3. Creating a Sacred Space

Many people create their own sacred space in their home or garden. This can be a full meditation room or a corner of the house that feels most serene and comfortable for daily use. It can even be a simple table or altar that is used for prayer and healing.

Creating your sacred space can be a very inspirational experience that is totally unique and personal to you. It can contain a few items like framed images and religious objects, or it may be filled with special mementos and personal style choices.

The important part is that you make it feel special and sacred to you. This can be accomplished by using methods such as smudging or asperging to ritually cleanse the space before and after it is used. It can also be accomplished through the use of specific crystals or intention settings. Whatever you do, just enjoy the process and don’t rush it. Your sacred space will grow and evolve along with you as you practice daily in it.

4. Cleansing

Whether to honor deities, attune with nature or for magical and healing purposes, Pagans design their rituals to foster personal growth and empowerment. Those who choose to participate in covens enjoy the liminal, flow experience of ritual and the sense of relatedness that they feel as part of a larger community. Even solitary practitioners may find themselves transformed through their participation in ritual.

Pagans tend to be duotheistic, worshipping and working with a Goddess and a Horned God (although Wiccans have also been known to practice polytheism). They believe in an afterlife where they will be judged according to the actions that they have taken on earth.

During rituals, Wiccans cleanse themselves with salt water and smoke from a candle or incense as well as herbs like sage, which symbolizes Mother Earth. They may also anoint themselves with a symbol of their path, such as the pentacle, an interlaced five-pointed star that represents the union of earth, air, fire and spirit.