In the waning evening light of winter, I light a candle and some incense as I start to cook dinner. The warm glow of beeswax cheers the room, and soon, the bright scent of sacred resin fills the air. It’s our defense against the physical and emotional darkness and chill, boosted by the occasional dose of one of our resin Spagyrics and a dab of a Ritual Oil.
I follow my intuition for what’s needed each day- some days call for bright and sunny Frankincense, while other days, it’s calming Palo Santo that speaks to me. Myrrh keeps me grounded as the season’s social energy ramps up, and Mastic clears out unwanted energetic influences as the new year arrives.
Frankincense is the best-known sacred resin in our culture, but most people aren’t aware of the many varieties of this medicine, and the varied effects it can have on body and mind. The first Frankincense we worked with was Boswellia sacra for our Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh Somalixir, which is also in our Frankincense Magistery and the Ritual Oil made from the opened resin of that process, in both Frankincense alone, and Frankincense+Myrrh.
Sacra is the incense of many churches, and it has a bright, fresh and warm scent from high amounts of pinene, which opens the lungs and eases breathing for healing or song and prayer. In both of these Spagyrics, the Frankincense energizes the physical and spiritual Hearts, linking the Solar energy of enlightenment to the Venus intelligence of love. This quality reminds me of the effect of light through a cathedral’s Rose Window, as I wrote in this post.
More recently, we have been exploring other forms of Frankincense, both from different grades of collection, and from unique species of this desert tree, and we’ve started thinking about them as two main categories of Frankincense. One is the “gemmy” types, which form hard, translucent tears that need higher heat to open up into bright, light, and effervescent notes; the other are the “honey” types, which are darker, opaque, soft and sticky, and carry more earthy, woody, and camphoraceous scents.
Frankincense ‘Royal Green Hojari’ is one of the gemmy types, with a golden minty green colour to its tears, and it carries that minty freshness into its scent and taste, along with strong pine and cool forest qualities. The Initiatic of Hojari is clearing to mental and energetic fog, removing stagnant energy and bringing lightness and ease. We offer ‘Royal Green Hojari’ as an Initiatic and a Ritual Oil, as well as a Kit with both and some raw resin to experience the full sensory power of this being.
Another gemmy Frankincense is from a related, but different, species- Boswellia papyrifera. This is thought to be the original sacred Frankincense of antiquity, used by the Babylonians and still preferred in Orthodox churches. The scent of papyrifera is subtle, warmer and sweeter than Hojari, but its spiritual effects are profound.
This Frankincense is particularly high in Incensole Acetate, a chemical which interacts with receptors in the brain, spine, and skin, creating feelings of warmth across the skin, as well as connection and serenity in the mind. It is the most psychoactive of the Frankincense we work with, and our Frankincense papyrifera Initiatic activates the subtle aspects of sound and bringing strong visualizations and imagery to the mind’s eye, as well as brightening the physical vision and creating a feeling of radiance.
On the honeyed side of the Frankincense family, we work with two black types, both Boswellia neglecta. One is a sticky version from Kenya, and the other is a harder type from Somalia, called ‘Thurimel’. Both are fresh resins, not long out of the tree, and so they carry more of the living tree energy and have a strong flowing, Spirit-level Mercury intelligence, as I wrote in this post.
The Kenyan neglecta Initiatic has a rising and falling quality to its energy, which in meditation connects to the rising and falling of the seasons through the sap of the tree. Pushing that meditation further, it can be used to explore any pulsing quality, from the fast rhythm of the heart to the slower cycles of ocean, planet, and universe.
The Somalian Thurimel works with the currents of energy and flow all around, in different ways depending on the form used. As an Initiatic, it brings a feeling of being a stable island surrounded by energy currents that can be worked with from a centered place. As a Ritual Oil, the energies are filtered somewhat and the aura becomes a shield of protection. Our Thurimel Kit contains both of these forms, as well as some raw resin, which brings a buzzy activation to the defensive Wei Qi when burned.
In Christian tradition, the companion to Frankincense is Myrrh, along with the other gift of the Magi, Gold. Myrrh is another precious desert tree resin, more grounding and earthy than Frankincense, with a bitterness that relates to its gift of the wisdom that comes from difficult experiences, as I discussed here.
Our Kua Myrrh Initiatic is somewhat bitter, like its relatives throughout the desert, but it’s also musky, sweet, and a little sexy in its scent and energy. This special type found only on the Yemeni island of Socotra is very Saturnine, collecting awareness and concentrating it in the outline of the physical body, the boundary of the self.
Even sweeter than Kua Myrrh is Palo Santo, the famous sticks burned as a cleansing smoke in Peru. This wood burns because of its high resin content, and that resin can be collected separately in a sustainable way that leaves the tree to continue growing, and this is what we’ve used in our Palo Santo Ritual Oil. This oil is Mercurial and balanced in its effects- both calming and uplifting, banishing negativity by drawing in positive influences, and useful as a support to many types of ritual and meditation.
Finally, a resin that may be unknown to you, but which you should get to know- Mastic from Greece. Since we have been working with it, we have switched to using it instead of mugwort or sage for most clearing and cleansing purposes, and we find it more effective- plus, it is much more sustainable and culturally respectful than most white sage on the market.
Mastic smells earthy and deep, but it creates a high and clear energy that surprised us the first time we burned it. As an Initiatic, it builds like a wave from the core outwards, pushing out anything that is not the self and leaving behind a sense of purity and goodness. The Ritual Oil pushes that purified feeling out further, creating a space that is safe and open for working with all types of magickal energies, especially earth-based Chthonic forces. Both are available separately, and as a Kit with some raw resin, which is easy to use in even the low heat of an electric or candle warmer.