“Gold is just dust when still in the ground, and oud
in its country of origin, is just another kind of firewood.”
~Muhammad Ibn Idris al-Shafi’i 767-820 C.E.
If we look back in history, we can connect this quote to the stated first discovery of Oud or agarwood in Japan. It is said that a large log washed up on the beach and was gathered and burnt for firewood. When the wood was burnt, it was discovered that this wood was very special indeed as it let off a perfume only the gods could have created. Agarwood has been a prized wood and scent for many centuries.
The Japanese made incense from this wood and called it Jinko, or “sinking wood” because it was heavier than other wood and did not float well. Agarwood is also called Aloeswood, Oud and Eagle-Wood around the world.
Agarwood is used in traditional Tibetan medicinal preparations and is called Eaglewood (unique, yellow, light & black). Agarwood also has special uses in Chinese medicine.
The scent of Agarwood is musky, woodsy, rich and always original. It has been all but impossible to correctly mimic this scent in synthetic preparations.
Agarwood comes from the center or “heartwood” of the Aquilara tree from Southeast Asia that has been infected by a fungus. The tree is infected at the roots and in response, creates a thick, dark resin to protect itself from the infection. This resin, and the wood that holds it is Agarwood. The older the tree and the longer the infection has flourished within the tree, the more precious and fragrant the Agarwood. There is no way to tell which trees in the wild have been infected with this fungus, so the practice is to randomly cut down trees or open their bark, looking for the dark resinous wood. This practice has meant that Aquilara species trees in the wild in some countries are endangered.
Many countries have now created tree farms, in which Aquilara trees are specially grown, inoculated with fungus and then harvested after a minimum of seven years to get Agarwood. It is said that these farmed trees don’t produce the same fragrance in their Agarwood as do trees in the wild, and the reason for this is not known at this time.
Most incenses found in the market contain a lower grade agarwood and are usually grown on a farm, because the cost of wild agarwood is formidable. 2.2 pounds of high quality agarwood sold for over $500 just 20 years ago and the price has only gone up since then. Using first quality agarwood would make the price of incense unaffordable for most people, so lower quality agarwoods are used.
Ma Laxmi Dhoop-The Goddess of Wealth, is a traditional Nepali dhoop made by Traditional Nepali Dhoop Pvt. Ltd, Nepal. This dhoop is made in the traditional masala method, using essential oils, spices, flowers and aromatic herbs.
Ma Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, and this dhoop, although it has the earthy aroma of traditional tibetan incense, has a light flowery side. Flowers are a perfect offering to the beautiful, kind heart of Ma Laxmi. Kindness, love, compassion & gentleness go hand in hand. They are what true beauty is made of.
Violet and Company Incense imports this Dhoop directly from Nepal so it is always fresh.
It is amazing that the Chinese government has contacted the city of Corvalis, Oregon in the USA to ask them to consider taking down a mural, depicting the brutality of the Chinese government against the people of Tibet. Here is a picture of part of the mural.
It is important to not allow this to be silenced. I have included an important message from Tibet below for education and knowledge. These things can’t happen in secret and if the Chinese government is not ashamed of their actions, they would not try and quiet the truth. We should do what we can to spread this message: that the oppression, domination and extinction of a people will not be allowed.
Me Tok Ma Dakini Incense by Siddharth Incenses is a tribute to the Dakini (Goddess) Me Tok Ma (the Flower Goddess). It is made by Siddharth Incense, who added the prayer I put into the title of this blog post to their incense package. We just received a new shipment from Nepal and Me-Tok-Ma Incense can be found here: ME-TOK-MA at Violet and Company Incense.
This incense is beautiful in thought and creation. It is made with Kesar (Saffron), Tsampaka (White Champak-a sort of magnolia that is EXTREMELY FRAGRANT) and Pangpoey. I could not figure out what Pangpoey is, so if anyone knows, please put it into the comments. The incense is also made with other traditional Tibetan herbs according to the Men Ngak formula.
Thinking about Me-Tok-Ma Incense, and the prayer that comes with it, reminds me that the prayer that all beings benefit from even my smallest action is a blessing that is free to give-and yet invaluable. It reminds me that the smallest, most ordinary action can indeed make a difference in the well-being of all beings.
Live with intention, don’t postpone and be happy. This is beneficial to all beings.
to be immersed in a scent world,
is to shift your consciousness
and to awaken to the moment more fully.
~Mandy Aftel, Essence and Alchemy
We just got Mandala Art and Incense’s Tibetan Rose (Gulab) incense, straight from Nepal. This incense is incredible. It is earthy and subtle with a good infusion of rose. There is a muskiness about it that offsets the sweetness of the rose, creating a subtle balance. The incense comes in a paper tube, with 30 sticks of incense inside. It also contains a burner. Each stick burns for approximately 60 minutes.
Be careful with this incense, it is delicate. It is stickless, so the upside is that if it does break, you can just burn it in smaller chunks and none is wasted.
The incense does come with a burner, but our favorite way to burn it is in a bowl full of small rocks. We put the incense in between the rocks to hold it up. Some people use small bowls full of rice or sand to hold up their incense and burn multiple sticks at a time.
According to the manufacturer, Rose is a symbol of love and purity and Buddhists use it as an aid to meditation and prayer. In aromatherapy, it is used to sooth emotions such as sadness and resentment.