Incense & Herbs For Charcoal
Long before incense was rolled onto a stick or fashioned into cones, it was burnt on the coals of a fire.
Today, we most often use charcoal discs to burn loose incense, incense powder, or incense herbs.
Always keep your opened packet of charcoal inside a sealed bag, because air will harden even self-igniting charcoal discs and make them harder to burn.
To ready a charcoal disc for burning incense, place it on a fire proof dish or plate with the concave side up - this is the side that has a shallow indentation, which is where you will place your herbs, powder, or resin.
Holding the disc with a pair of tongs so you don't get burnt fingers, light the edge of the charcoal and you should see little sparkles of light as the heat spreads across the disc. Do not add any incense to the disc until it has gone completely grey or white. Only then is the disc ready to receive your incense. If you add incense too early, it may not burn well or not at all.
Using a small spoon to ladle your incense onto the top of the disc helps you to not burn your fingers and also helps you to more exactly place the right amount of incense in the right place. Don't smother the charcoal disc. A little incense goes a long way, and you can always add more, later. One or two grains of resin or half a fingertip of powder or herbs is usually enough.
If you are doing a ritual, you may want to burn your cleansing herbs or empowering powders, first. Then follow with resins, powders, or herbs specific to your ritual. For instance, a little sage, mugwort, agrimony, angelica, or dragon's blood can be followed by sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, etc., once the initial incense has burned off.
A charcoal disc usually burns for about an hour, even if it looks like ash or cold. Never leave your charcoal burner where it can be knocked over, or played with by children. Place it in a safe place until you can be sure the charcoal has completely ceased burning.
To see a You Tube video of how to burn incense on a charcoal disc, please follow this link (opens in a new browser window).