Incense is a common way to create an atmosphere of relaxation and is frequently used in religious rituals. But if you’re new to this practice, you may be uncertain how to safely burn incense sticks.
Here are some tips from incense experts to help you reap the rewards of this traditional practice without putting yourself or others in jeopardy. From what ingredients to look for to understanding the difference between cones and sticks, these advice will ensure your incense burns safely!
Light the Stick
If you want to fully appreciate the calming and relaxing effects of incense, it is essential that you know how to burn them correctly. Doing so will prevent your stick from becoming a fire hazard and allow you to safely extinguish it when finished using.
Start by lighting the tip of the stick with a lighter or match. Don’t let the flame burn all the way down; leave some red embers at the end that emit aromatic smoke and leave behind ash.
Once the end of the stick catches fire, gently blow it out. You can either use a candle to do this or simply wave it around like with a lighter.
Next, insert the unlit end of the stick into an incense holder or burner that will contain it and catch any ash that falls from it. A ceramic bowl or plate works best here since it absorbs any gases created during burning.
Place the Stick in a Censer
Once lit, place it in an incense burner (also known as an censer). These can be simple plates made out of wood, metal or ceramic that have been bent up at one end to catch any ash created from burning incense.
Censers come in a range of shapes, such as elephants, lotus flowers and bowls. Usually made of ceramic with a hole at the top for burning either cored or solid incense sticks.
A quality censer should be filled with a material that retains shape and traps oxygen. Some people use salt or sand, but for optimal performance use finely sifted rice ash – often sold under the name “white ash” by Japanese incense companies.
When burning incense sticks, they release a lot of smoke. Therefore, keep them away from open windows or doors where there may be a draft. Furthermore, make sure your incense sticks are kept trimmed down or set on a heat-resistant surface.
Place the Censer in a Censer Holder
Censer holders are designed to catch any falling ash from an incense stick while it burns. These can be constructed out of various materials, such as ceramic, metal or wood.
Shaped censers, such as elephants, lotuses or leaves are frequently available. These ceramic designs can accommodate both cored and solid incense sticks and typically feature a small hole at the top for easy filling.
Stone clay pots can also be crafted. To make one, simply roll out a piece of natural stone clay and shape it to the shape desired.
Once your clay has been formed into the desired shape, insert your incense stick inside of it. For added safety and flavor, sprinkle a small amount of rice ash or salt over top before burning it off.
Censers have been used in numerous ancient religious rituals and play an integral role in Christian liturgical rites. The Christian liturgy recognizes the significance of burning incense as a representation of prayers ascending towards Heaven.
Place the Censer Holder in a Censer Burner
No matter if you use charcoal or a combination of sticks and aromatics, the safest way to burn incense is with a censer burner. Not only are these burners easy to use, but also easy to maintain.
Ceramic, metal or terra-cotta incense burners come in various shapes and sizes and have been used since ancient times for burning incense. Nowadays, you can find these around the world.
Many cultures associate burning incense with spiritual or religious significance, which is evident in the design and decoration of censers. They range in size, form and material from simple earthenware bowls or fire pots to intricately carved silver or gold vessels.
Incense can have numerous therapeutic effects, such as increasing relaxation and focus, relieving stress and anxiety, and improving sleep quality. While charcoal is the most common way to burn incense, non-combustible incense can also be burned on a censer burner for even greater effects.