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Temple Incense

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A Little Quiet Time


Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Without rests, music would not be music, it would just be a continual stream of noise. Without quiet time, we would not be able to regroup and relax. Silence is a very important and sometimes lacking thing in our lives.

I recently had to visit San Francisco, and was overwhelmed by the noise, activity and busyness of the city. Everywhere I went there was a car running, a person talking, a bus stopping with a loud hiss of hydraulic brakes. At night, the BART blew its whistle every 15 minutes until midnight, when either it stopped or I fell asleep. When I got back to my home in a small town, I was thankful to sit down on my back porch and hear absolutely nothing but the beating of my heart and the soft padding of my cats paws as she walked across the deck. If you live in a city like San Francisco, there is always some sort of noise that breaks through and disturbs quiet moments. If you live with others there may always be someone asking a question or talking to you about something. No matter what your situation today, there is almost always something or someone who fills the quiet time with noise.

Sometimes we don’t realize how inundated we are by sound. It is nice, once in awhile, to just go into a quiet place where you can be alone, and sit. Think whatever thoughts there are to be thought, listen to your own breathing and the comforting beat of your heart. It is nice to burn a nice, subtle incense during these times. I prefer VIVA Mainichi-Koh by Nippon Kodo. Koh means Sandalwood and Mainichi means “everyday”. This is just a subtle, everyday scent that inspires relaxation and joy and is perfect for enjoying quiet times.

Myrrh


Myrrh is another wonderful resin that has been brought forward from ancient times for use in the modern world.  It is said that at one time Myrrh was as valuable as gold.  It was used for medicinal purposes, for incense and for perfume.

Myrrh is a resin derived from cutting the bark of the trees in the Commiphora species, commonly found in Northern Africa.  The resin “bleeds” from the tree bark and quickly hardens into a glossy, light colored, firm lump.  The more the resin is aged, the darker it becomes. 

myrrh resin chunks Myrrh Resin

Myrrh was used by the Ancient Egyptians in the embalming process.  It is used today by everyone from the Roman Catholics to the Neo-Pagans for religious purposes. 

Studies done on possible medicinal uses of Myrrh, show that Myrrh produces an analgesic effect on mice.  Myrrh is used in Chinese medicine as well as in herbal medicine.  If you are going to ingest Myrrh, be sure that you know its source and that it is derived using pure means.

You can find Myrrh resin for burning on charcoal discs or for rubbing on your body at Violet and Company.  Another wonderful way to use Myrrh is to crush the resin with a mortar and pestle and dissolve it into a vial of carrier oil such as apricot oil and then wear it as a perfume oil.  Delicious.

References:  Wikipedia Myrrh

What Are the Different Types of Incense Part I


Whether you are new to buying and using incense and aromatics, or if you have been doing it for a while, it is good to know what different forms of incense are out there. Incense can be divided into categories depending on how it is made and formed. It is important to know that how it is made can influence how long it burns.

Stick Incense: Stick incense is perhaps the most common type of incense in the Western world.  It consists of a thin stick that is hand rolled or pressed with gums, resins, herbs and aromatic oils.  One example of this is Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa stick incense.  There are some incenses, such as Morning Star Incenses, which are made without a stick.  The incense is simply a solid core of incense that burns.
Spiral Incense   Spiral Incense-some of the longest burning incense

Spiral Incense: Spiral incense is dense, twisted incense formed into a thick spiral.  It is burnt by hanging from a special burner or hook, or supported on a pillar type piece in an incense burner.  Burning time varies from hours to many days in length.  This incense is used in Taoist temples and other temples throughout Asia.  It is often used to promote unity with the Divine, meditation and prayer because of its’ long burning properties.  It is recommended for large spaces or places with many smaller passages or rooms.  One spiral incense I would really love to try comes from The Purple People at http://www.thepurplepeople.com/coil_spiral/incense.html  I don’t necessarily subscribe to their spirituality, but I have heard they make wonderful incense.

…next time Cones, Powder and Resins

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