People have burned incense for cleansing purposes and ritual ceremonies for a long time. In addition to incense, some of the most popular items used during ritual ceremonies are bark, resins, roots, leaves, and flowers.
The most precious substances were reserved to honor the gods. Thick billowing smoke would rise from incense-burning vessels, carrying the plea for protection and well-being to the beyond where the gods live. Fragrant smoke has always been a fascinating symbol of life, death and transcendence.
In China, incense burning is a long established tradition and has many applications. Incense is burned to provide pleasant fragrances for rooms and clothing, to communicate with the gods, and to drive out evil spirits. Burning incense during I Ching readings is an absolute must, because it creates the right atmosphere in which to receive the divine wisdom or the pure breath of the gods.
In Japan, the koh-do (way of incense burning) was usually celebrated under the guidance of Zen monks. Different royal families conducted full-blown incense burning feasts.
In more recent times, aromatherapy uses a variety of fascinating fragrances as a way to touch the soul. Feng shui burns incense to cleanse or remove negative energies from a room or home and has given this ritual new meaning. Daily incense burning is highly recommended in places where sha (negative) energies are particularly strong, as in sickrooms, waiting rooms, places used for meditation or therapy, etc. Specialty shops carry a great variety of products used for incense burning, including the appropriate vessels, charcoal, and sand. If you don't like the odour of charcoal, a wire grid suspended over a vessel can be substituted. A tea light provides the necessary heat.
- Before moving into a new home or house
- After an illness or conflict
- Anytime, depending on individual preferences, or as a regular ritual
- Daily, as support during meditation or relaxation.
I am cleansing my space from everything that is out of balance and turning towards light. I am letting go of the past and living peacefully, with joy. I am relaxed, allowing life to flow through me with lightness.