How to Burn Loose Incense (No Charcoal Required)

three loose incense jars

We share how to burn loose incense without using any charcoal. Whether you are burning loose incense for meditation, relaxation, spiritual rituals, ceremonies or to cleanse a new space – use this easy method for a shorter burn time.

What is Loose Incense?

Loose incense or raw incense can come from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, or spices used individually on their own or blended into a mixture similar to herbal tea or a powdery form. Loose incense is not the same as incense sticks, or cones but is burned traditionally using a charcoal disk in an incense burner, censor or ceramic vessel. This practice is done as a sacred act when used in ceremony, religious practices, and life transitions. 

What are the Benefits of Burning Loose Incense?

There are many benefits to burning loose incense. As loose incense smolders, its smoke releases an energized stream of aromatic scents that can only be activated by burning. When sacred smoke is inhaled the scent stimulates the nervous system by moving the body into a state of relaxation. Many times, feelings of nostalgia arise as if your memory is recalling smells that are familiar to you or from your experience. It is a grounding experience provided by the dead and decaying herbs and resin of a plant’s very own transition. 

Incense smoke is used in many spiritual practices to bridge spirit and mortal worlds. Since incense smoke is burned in a vessel it easier to move from space to space in ceremonial and cleansing practices.

woman's hands holding a ceramic bowl filled with loose incense

Connect with the Incense of your Lineage

Since ancient times our ancestors have burned flowers, herbs, wood, and resin during spiritual practices to nurture healing. Burning dried plants, herbs, flowers, spices, resins, and woods is an energetic process happening in real time and has been linked to ceremonial practices from our ancestral lineages. Our ancestors burned sacred smoke for various life events like in ceremony for passing into the afterlife or initiation rituals. Connecting with the plants, flowers, and herbs native to the land of your ancestors can reveal the smoke medicine they may have accessed during ceremony and ritual. It is important to become mindful of how incense herbs are used today and which ones should be used sparingly or avoided all together.

here are the three steps of burning loose incense 

Check out our handmade incense collection 

How to Burn Loose Incense without Charcoal

To Experience:

Method 1 (easiest): Creates a shorter burn time so it is great for short meditations, and cleansing 

1. Pour about 1/3 jar - about a couple pinches of loose incense into heat proof dish like ceramic bowl and light blend with a lighter until it flames. Matches are not recommended because they do out quickly.

2. Blow out flame and allow incense to smolder and release its medicine.

Remove ash and burnt bits each ritual for a fresh burn. A small amount of smoke goes a long way.

How to Burn Loose Incense with Charcoal for a Long Lasting Burn

Method 2: (Longer lasting burn)

Fill a heat proof dish or ceramic bowl with earth like beach sand or dirt or use a censor.

Light an incense coal using tongs, or if using hands, light opposite corner until it flames and is hot enough to smolder.

Use a lighter or using tongs hold the charcoal over an open flame like a candle or gas burner.

 *(see note about self-igniting charcoal)*

Place a couple pinches of incense blend atop the lit coal. Inhale and exhale deeply and allow yourself to relax into the experience.

** Note about self-igniting charcoal**

Why we use natural charcoal w/out chemicals?

Self-igniting charcoal contain chemicals harmful to aquatic life with lasting effects. Please be mindful of disposal and opt for plant-based options when available.

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