Scents have a way of making time stand still for us sometimes, and the aromas of the winter holidays are no exception. For many people, re-creating the smells and emotions of our childhood, or even of some distant ancestral memory, is part of the magic of the Yule season.
To make your own magical winter night's incense, first determine what form you’d like to make. You can make incense with sticks and in cones, but the easiest kind uses loose ingredients, which are then burned on top of a charcoal disc or tossed into a fire. This recipe is for loose incense, but you can always adapt it for stick or cone recipes.
As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. This particular recipe is one which evokes the spices and magic of a cold December night. Use it during a ritual, if you like, or as a smudging incense to purify a sacred space. You can also toss some into your fire just to make the house smell like winter.
Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:
As the sun returns, back to the earth,
we celebrate life and death and rebirth.
Cold winter nights and chilly days,
smoke in the sky, carry ills away.
A time of magic, at the longest night,
for without the dark, there cannot be light.
Herbs of power, blended by me,
As I will, so it shall be.
Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its name and date. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.