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Noncombustible Incense Be sure you have all necessary ingredients. If you lack any, decide on substitutions.

Each ingredient must be finely ground, preferably to a powder, using either a mortar and pestle or an electric grinder. Some resins won't powder easily, but with practice you'll find the right touch.

When I first worked with herbs I couldn't powder frankincense. It kept on gumming to the sides of the mortar and to the tip of the pestle. After a while I stopped fighting it (and cursing it, I'll admit-not a good thing to do with herbs used in incenses) and got into the flow of the work. The frankincense came out just fine.

When all is ready, fix your mind on the incense's goal-protection, love, health. In a large wooden or ceramic bowl, mix the resins and gums together with your hands. While mingling these fragrant substances, also mix their energies. Visualize your personal power-vibrating with your magical goal-exiting your hands and entering the incense. It is this that makes homemade incense more effective than its commercial counterparts.

Next, mix in all the powdered leaves, barks, flowers and roots. As you mix, continue to visualize or concentrate on the incense's goal.

Now add any oils or liquids (wine, honey, etc.) that are included in the recipe. Just a few drops are usually sufficient. On the subject of oils: If there's a sufficient amount of dry ingredients in the recipe, you can substitute an oil for an herb you lack. Simply ensure that the oil an essential oil, for synthetics smell like burning plastic when smoldered.

Once all has been thoroughly mixed, add any powdered gem-stones or other power boosters. A few, not many, of the recipes call for a pinch of powdered stone.

To produce this, simply take a small stone of the required type and pound it in a metal mortar and pestle (or simply smash it with a hammer against a hard surface). Grind the resulting pieces into a powder and add no more than the scantest pinch to the incense.

One general power-boosting "stone" is amber. A pinch of this fossilized resin added to any mixture will increase its effectiveness, but this can be rather expensive.

The incense is now fully compounded. Empower the incense and it is done. Store in a tightly capped jar. Label carefully, including the name of the incense and date of composition. It is ready for use when needed