The Magick of Incense ~ Using Scents for Pagan Rituals

The various properties of incense and it’s importance in Pagan spiritual work.

Throughout the long history of Pagan spirituality, incense has been used as a valuable tool in ritual work. Incense is symbolic of the element Air and assists in opening the doorway to the spiritual realm. In times long ago people would burn sweet-smelling herbs and wood to purify and cleanse their homes or the areas where they performed ritual magick. The ancient Egyptians were known for their abilities to blend and produce high-quality incense used for rituals. A particular type of Egyptian incense known as Khyphi is still available today and requires the finest of ingredients to produce.

There are many forms of incense that are in use today such as granular, cone and joss-sticks. Joss-sticks are one of the most common forms of incense and originally came from India. They are the best form of incense to use for short rituals but for longer rituals it’s best to use granular or cone incense.

Granular incense is commonly burned on a charcoal disc which is lit and placed in an incense burner. The incense is then piled on top of the charcoal disc and begins to burn and release its fragrance.

Many people make their own incense with herbs and essential oils that correspond with whatever ritual work they may be doing. Thought and care should be used when doing this and the use of your intuition can also guide you in making an incense that is best for your ritual. Dedication of the incense is also helpful and can be done by simply saying, “I dedicate this incense for the use of” and then name the ritual in which it will be used.

The following is a list of incense fragrances and their properties that can be used in assistance of your magickal work.


This is a very calming scent and can assist with the contact of divine spirits. It helps to strengthen conviction and to have a calm and focused center.


Cleansing and protecting, lavender also helps to bring healing and symbolizes the protection of Mother Earth. It helps to clear and strengthen auras and releases negative emotions.


Cleanses negative influences and helps to bring wisdom. A very universal fragrance, it helps the spirit to adapt to different energies.


Symbolizes love and fire. It has the power to bring happiness and banish negativity and sadness.


Brings greater understanding of spirit and helps us to find our true potential. Provides sanctuary and protection.


Opens the spirit and brings greater wisdom and understanding. Cleanses auras and helps to build greater confidence.

Ylang Ylang

Balances the spirit and helps to achieve more balanced manifestation. Sensual, invigorating and calming.

When storing incense, be sure to keep it in a cool place out of direct sunlight or bright lighting. By using incense in your spellwork, rituals or meditations, you can achieve a greater connection with deity and have a calmer and more awakened spirit.