The history of incense in various religions and spiritual practices

The history of incense in various religions and spiritual practices

Incense has been used for thousands of years in various religions and spiritual practices, and its history and cultural significance is rich and diverse. 
From ancient Egypt to modern day Paganism, incense has been used for everything from cleansing to spell work.
The word incense comes from Latin incendere meaning 'to burn'.

One of the earliest known uses of incense was in ancient Egypt, where it was used in religious ceremonies and to mask unpleasant odours.

In many religions, incense is used as a symbol of prayer, and it is believed to carry the prayers and wishes of the faithful to the gods. In Christianity, for example, incense is often used during mass, and the smoke is believed to symbolize the prayers of the congregation rising to heaven.

3 catholic censers hanging in a church, burning incense

In Buddhism, incense is used to purify the surroundings and create a peaceful atmosphere. The smell of incense is also said to  to invoke the presence of buddhas, bodhisattvas, gods, demons.

In Hinduism, incense is used in many daily rituals, including puja, which is a worship ceremony. According to this article from Wikipedia "As part of the daily ritual worship within the Hindu tradition, incense is offered to God (usually by rotating the sticks thrice in a clockwise direction) in His deity forms, such as Krishna and Rama. "

In many cultures, incense is also used for healing and for spiritual protection. It is believed to purify the body, mind, and spirit and to drive away negative energy.

Pagan rituals also use incense to represent the element of air. Fragranced incense is also used in rituals and spells to symbolise different energies for spell work and for cleansing and purification.

lotus incense holder in front of a white candle and apothecary bottles

In addition to its religious and spiritual significance, incense is also used for its pleasant aroma. Throughout history, it has been used to mask unpleasant odours and to create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere. Whatever the reason originally was for burning incense, it remains to this day a beautiful way to pay homage to Ancestors, Gods and Spirits, as well as to add beautiful fragrance to your home and create a relaxing and tranquil environment.

Let us know, what do you use incense for? What is your favourite incense?

* If you are looking to purchase Incense, check out our incense here.

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