Resin incense has been used in worship for centuries in churches, mosques, and temples, but most people who are familiar with cone and stick incense have never known the pleasure of using pure resin incense. I decided to post some detailed instructions on how to use resin incense because this was something I had to research and learn through trial and error. It is very easy, if you know what to do! It is the purest way to burn incense because unlike cone and stick incense, it contains no fillers. First, I'm assuming that you know to take all the precautions that you would when you burn a candle... keep away from anything that could catch fire, keep away from pets and children, use in a well-ventilated space, and never leave it unattended, yada yada yada....
These are the things you will need... a pair of small metal tongs, a lighter, and a raised, heat-proof dish. Look for one made of metal or stoneware that has legs. You don't want to damage the surface beneath it! Terracotta works well. I use a terracotta saucer on top of a metal candle holder. Most likely you have something that will work, so there is no need to go out and buy an expensive incense burner.
Self-igniting charcoal disks.
You can find these online or at stores like Earthbound Trading Co. or Romancing the Stone. They are around $2.00 for a roll of ten or twelve. WARNING: DO NOT use grill charcoal for incense! It puts off toxic fumes! Fresh, dry charcoal lights quickly so keep it sealed and away from humidity.
Resin incense that can be purchased at metaphysical stores or online.
I got a big sampler pack from these guys at a festival, and you can also purchase good-quality resins at AzureGreen online. I like to use pure amber (shown in the apothecary jar) that has been crushed or shaved off into small pieces. Look for low-quality, cloudy amber that is cheap, because it burns just the same.
Some people put down a layer of sand under the charcoal to help it burn evenly and to prevent the dish from becoming too hot. I have never had a problem not using it, and clean-up is easier without it.
Hold the charcoal disk with the tongs and light the edges in several places.
Be prepared for sparks! Make sure you don't set fire to tablecloths or curtains! This is really dramatic in the dark.
Place the charcoal in the center of the dish with the rim facing up. You will see the sparks move through the charcoal, and it will start to glow.
After the sparks have stopped, place a few resin pebbles onto the charcoal. One pebble at a time will work nicely if you are indoors, because you don't want to set off the smoke alarms!
The resin pebbles will start to melt and produce smoke.
The charcoal will start to turn white around the edges, and it will burn for an hour or more. You will have to keep adding pebbles because they burn up at different rates, depending on what resin you use.
This is another dish that I use for incense. It was 25 cents at a yard sale.
I never use this one on a table cloth because it doesn't sit up high enough to be safe. Dry herbs like lavender, rosemary or sage can also be burned on the charcoal disks.
Okay, so those are the basics of using resin incense. I will gladly answer any questions that you may have. If I left out anything, or if there is anything that you would like to add, please leave a comment. Enjoy!
Peace, love, and happiness,