Scents of Harmony

by: Angela

Aromatherapy is a powerful tool to use for promoting harmony and balance in your daily life. From burning incense and candles to creating oil blends for the body, you can manifest a harmonious environment wherever you go with the power of scent. Below is a list of scents you can use to bring peace, protection, love, and positive energy into your life everyday. I have included some basic blends and uses for these scents to manifest the most harmonious results.

ORANGE

Orange is a great ‘pick me up’ scent, offering a burst of positive energy whenever you burn it. I highly recommend burning Orange as a stick incense, or burning Essential Orange oil in an aroma diffuser. Since citrus is a universally delicious scent, feel free to burn the oil in any environment you choose. (Can’t use an aroma diffuser at work? Try mixing Orange oil with distilled water in a glass spray bottle. Use as a positive energy mist over your aura and around your office anytime!)

MYRRH

Both subtle and seductive, Myrrh is a powerful scent for purification and relaxation. Burn Myrrh as a stick incense, or use the fragrance oil in your ‘home’ aroma diffuser to calm tension and reduce irritability. You may use a Myrrh (or Myrrh & Frankincense) fragrance oil directly on your skin to reduce your own anxiety and dispel negativity.

ROSE

As a scent of unconditional love, Rose is the perfect aroma to have in any home environment.  Burn it as an incense stick, or burn the fragrance oil in an aroma diffuser for an instant calming and loving feeling to fill your home. Rose is also a scent of romantic love. Burn one of Earth lore’s Seduction candles for a passionate night with your partner. Wear Rose fragrance oil daily on your skin to attract romantic  and harmonious love.

JUNIPER BERRY

Protect your home from theft or unwanted visitors by sprinkling dried Juniper Berries at or near all entrances to your home. To dispel unwanted energies created due to family feuds, sprinkle a few drops of Essential Juniper Berry oil in your aroma diffuser with any of the other scents mentioned in this article.

DRAGON’S BLOOD

As one of the most protective of all scents, Dragon’s Blood should be used daily, especially in homes with young children. When burned as a stick incense, candle, or as a fragrance oil, Dragon’s Blood is a powerful protector from unwanted energies, accidents, abuse, depression, and negativity. It can help reduce excitability and confusion. Try burning a Dragon’s Blood candle before bed and anointing your 3rd eye with a drop of Dragon’s Blood fragrance oil. This will help ensure a good night’s sleep and a positive, productive day ahead.

LILY OF THE VALLEY

Few scents are as happily uplifting as Lily of the Valley. Lily of the Valley should be used in homes where family members suffer from depression, anger issues, mood swings, substance abuse, and stress-related illnesses. Burn Lily of the Valley as a stick incense or use the fragrance oil in an aroma diffuser. You may also mix the fragrance oil with distilled water in a glass spray bottle. The spray will be safe to spray over the aura, and over linens and furniture. Keep the spray accessible to anyone in the home who may need to be uplifted. (Tip for parents: put a few drops of Lily of the Valley oil on a cotton ball and put it in your child’s pocket. Instruct him/her to sniff the cotton ball if they feel anxious, angry, or depressed at school. This will help comfort them anytime you are apart.)

All of these wonderful scents are available at Earth Lore in Plymouth, MI. Thank you for reading, and for your continued patronage.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are vital to the success of all relationships. From business partners to best friends, parents to romantic partners, healthy boundaries are needed to establish a border between where you end and another person begins. Boundaries are used to establish limits that protect your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. When boundaries are too fluid (or non-existent) you may find yourself drained by giving more of yourself (emotional or financially) than you are able to spare. If you are the type of person who can not say no to others’ requests, or feel terribly guilty when doing so; you may have weak or non-existent boundaries. Similarly, when boundaries are too rigid, you may find yourself closed off from others, unable to establish close and meaningful relationships. If you find yourself unable to trust others, or unwilling to share yourself in a healthy and moderate way; your boundaries may be too rigid.

Loose boundaries are a recipe for drama, and rigid boundaries are a recipe for loneliness. Our goal is to find a middle ground in establishing healthy boundaries that serve our highest good and our greatest wellness. Here are a few things to consider when embarking on a journey to set healthy boundaries for yourself and your life:

  • It is OK to say no to others’ requests. Take time to consider the request before answering. Calculate the risks to yourself and others. If you find the sacrifice is too great, you will know you have the right to say no.
  • Remember to take time out for yourself. There are times when we must give more of ourselves than we think we can. For example, a loved one may fall ill and need your support, or your spouse may be laid off and depend on you to pull the family through hard financial times. Still, it is important that you take at least a few moments out of every day to pamper yourself.  Try a 5 minute morning meditation, or a brisk 10 minute walk in the evening, or take a relaxing 20 minute bath before bed. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it!
  • Seek professional or spiritual counseling, and/or read a few articles or books on creating healthy boundaries. If you feel a lack of healthy boundaries is significantly impacting your life, I highly recommend consulting an expert. It never hurts to seek the guidance of a relationship specialist. Do a Google search for books on boundaries, or for relationship counselors in your area.

Make your own “Boundary Bag” talisman

Directions: Mix two or more of the following stones, and two or more of the following herbs in a small red pouch. Hold the talisman in your hands and speak your intention in creating this “Boundary Bag”. Keep the talisman in your pocket or wear it around your neck whenever you need a boost of confidence, self-love, courage, protection, energy, and power.

Stones: Lapis Lazuli, Celestite, Aquamarine, Turquoise, Garnet, Blue Tiger Eye, Gold Tiger Eye, Blue Calcite, Labradorite

Herbs: Dragon’s Blood, Rosemary, Coriander Seed, Cardamon, Juniper Berry, Hibiscus

Tip: Add a piece of clear Quartz Crystal, and a leaf of White Sage to the “Boundary Bag” to keep your talisman cleansed and purified.

Natural Body Powders

Body Powder

Body Powder

Body powders have been used for ages to smooth and perfume the skin. Use of herbs in conjunction with absorbent powders help to remove odors by not allowing the formation of bacteria. Body odor is impacted by many outside influences including stress, tension, diet, and even wardrobe.   Meat, in addition to the processed “improved”, or “enriched” foods most Americans eat contribute to bad bacteria build up, aka odor.  Alcohol and vitamin deficiencies also will affect body odor.  Several findings indicate a concern over usage of talc in commercial deodorants and baby powders. Talc, or magnesium silicate,  is a proven lung irritant and often contains arsenic.  Several studies have linked the use of talc in cosmetic preparations to  skin cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Particles of talc have even been found in tumors!  This aside, talc is still “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA.

In addition to trying to eat less processed foods and processed meat, try drinking teas with peppermint or sage leaves.  Buy clothing made with fibers that breathe, such as cotton.  An easy, effective body powder can be made with a few simple ingredients.  Here’s the recipes, be creative and substitute different dried herbs, dried fruits and flowers if there is a particular scent you’d like to achieve.  With any herbal preparation, do a patch test on skin. Always use sanitary containers and tools while making recipes.

Lavender is gentle and used externally for skin irritation, making it perfect for babies or sensitive skin types.  Instead of using talc as a base, use arrowroot starch, baking soda, and/or corn starch.  Being a skeptical, and a commercial deodorant user, I was shocked to discover that arrowroot starch alone worked great.  Here are some preparations to try at home:

#1.

  • 1 part Arrowroot
  • 1 part powdered Blue cornflowers
  • 1 part Lavender powder
  • 1 part Violet Leaf

Now, when i say part, it can be any amount, just keep in mind herbal preparations don’t keep fresh forever. I’d suggest making no more than two weeks worth at a time.

#2.

  • 1 part orange peel powder
  • 1 part lemon peel powder
  • 1 part sandalwood powder
  • 1 part orris root powder

#3.

  • 1 part lavender powder
  • 1 part orris root
  • 2 parts arrowroot powder, or corn starch, or one part each

#4. “Sweet Powder”

  • 10 parts orris root
  • 4 parts powdered calamus root
  • 4 parts benzoin
  • 3 parts lavender
  • 1 part clove powder
  • 2 oz parts powder

#5.

Equal powdered parts orris root, orange peel powder, lemon peel powder, and your choice of calamus root or licorice root powder. Sift through and place in a jar or powder canister.

Another fun recipe to try goes like this:

Add flowers or herbs, such as gardenia, sage leaf, etc to an empty pint container, add arrowroot powder and/or cornstarch to fill.  Shake 3-5 times daily and replace the flowers with fresh every other day as well.

Harvest the last herbs from your garden and make some of these fragrant powders to remember summer’s warmth during the cold months.

Mabon

by Larissa

Happy Mabon

Happy Mabon!

Mabon occurs sometime between the 19th and the 23rd of September. This equinox notes the halfway point of the Sun’s path through the zodiac. The exact date shifts from year to year, marked when the sun moves from Virgo to Libra in the sky and crosses the celestial equator for the second time, now headed south.

The Sun enters Virgo August 23rd and leaves 22nd. Linked to the Earth harvest goddess, Demeter, Virgo invites us to take chances stemming from a place of confidence. We should accept our gifts and hone our skills. During this time take in the bountiful harvest, show beauty and the power of the goddess in all the work you do.

The sun enters Libra the 23rd and remains til October 23rd. The balance sought by the scales of Libra is, for a moment, found as days and nights; light and dark, become equal. While in Libra, allow focus to be on outward manifestation for the last time before turning inward. This turning point, as summer turns to fall, is when achievements are measured. This time represents justice, intelligence, gentleness, thanksgiving, and charm.

Mabon is the second of three harvest festivals carrying a theme of mysteries. A fairly neo-pagan holiday, Mabon combines a vestige of ancient harvest festivals. Cultures of all kinds use the equinoxes as traditional times to celebrate planting and the harvest season. Nonetheless, seasonal and astronomical events occur at equinoxes and are readily observed by the natural world.

This is a time of ritual thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth, and recognition of the need to share them to secure future blessings. Colors associated with Mabon are red, orange, and brown. Some plants used as symbols include: anise, benzoin, cedar, chamomile, clove, frankincense, honeysuckle (woodbine), juniper, myrrh, fir, roses, rue, sage, thistle, and yarrow. Include any of these herbs or oils in combination with stones and candles to create your own solitary Mabon ritual. Make notes in your journal or book of shadows to fine tune your ritual for next year.

I was inspired to include this suggestion to create a ritual by”Cunningham’s Book of Shadows”. In the back appendix there is a memoir written by David Harrington. He talks about exploring nature like the old ones did, rather than from books in a library. Not to say there is ANYTHING wrong with books, or that one should not know and honor the Craft.  Moreover, it is a reminder to get out and create one’s own experiences in addition to versed rituals.  Here’s a little maple leaf ritual from Scott Cunningham to bring success.

You will need:

  • a candle holder
  • an orange candle
  • colorful maple leaves.
  1. Arrange the leaves around the base of the candle holder(not too close!)
  2. Visualize success you wish to achieve
  3. Light your candle and say: “I call upon Jupiter to aid me please
    Bring abundance into my life by the power of three

    I am open to new opportunities and success.
    As this maple leaf spell spins out, may I be truly blessed
    By the power of the harvest and of the herbal trees
    In the best possible way-abundance will come to me!”
  4. Allow candle to burn out, gather maple leaves and leftover wax, tuck inside an envelope and keep to further empower your spell.

At autumn equinox we’re reminded that in all endings, there are also beginnings, and fields which are cut down will also one day rise again.

Saints: Healers and Helpers

by Kate

Saints

Catholic Saints

The healing power of saints has existed for two millennia and is still a time honored tradition today. Saints are not worshiped but rather are looked at as those who can interceded on our behalf because of their own faithfulness. In the same way one might ask a friend or relative to pray or light a candle for them, many people of all religious backgrounds turn to saints and angels for help and divine guidance.  Doreen Virtue, author and creator of Saints and Angels Oracle Cards, explains  that, “Since Christianity’s roots are found in more ancient belief systems of Judaism and  pantheism, I strongly believe that these… will benefit people of every religious and spiritual background. I’ve found the saints to be angelic, loving and powerful allies to anyone who calls on them, regardless of that person’s faith.”

Often times saints are designated as a patron saint of a particular cause or profession, or invoked against a specific illness or harm. It is customary to carry medallions, place statues or burn incense for the saints that one prays with for intercession. For example, many people in real estate are familiar with St. Joseph, the patron saint of homes. Burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard is a fast way to sell a home! (We have St. Joseph Home Seller Kits for only $5.95!)

Earth Lore carries a wide variety saints and angels products. We have saint medallions on beautiful prayer cards for $4.95.  Including:

  • Venerable Matt Talbot: Patron of those suffering for Alcoholism
  • Saint Charles Borromeo: Patron of those with Stomach Ailments
  • St. Jude: Patron Saint of Lost Causes and Desperate Situations
  • St. Rita: Patron of those who suffer Physical Abuse
  • St. Maximilian Kolbe: Patron of those who suffer from Addiction & Drugs
  • St. Catherine of Sweden: Patron of those who’ve suffered Miscarriage
  • St. Alphonsus Liguori: Patron of those with Arthritis
  • St. Agatha: Patron of those who have Breast Cancer
  • St. Peregrine: Patron of those with Cancer
  • St. Dymphna: Patron of those with Mental Illnesses
  • St. Nickolas: Patron of Sick Children

Earth Lore also carries a wide variety of Doreen Virtue’s Angel Card Decks ($15.95)  including the Saints & Angels Deck mention earlier. This deck is a highly recommended favorite by our staff for its loving accuracy and guidance. Earth Lore also keeps a regular stock of Saint Incense(only $.95 /box!) including: Archangel Michael for Physical and Spiritual Protection (myrrh scented), St. Joseph for Home Protection and Family Harmony (lavender scented), St Jude for Desperate Causes (musk scented) and Our Lady of Guadalupe for Health (rose scented).

A Mid-Summer Night’s Rite

by Angela

June 20th-23rd is the celebration of Summer Solstice, also known as Litha.  The Summer Solstice marks the longest day and shortest night of the year.  The night of Summer Solstice has long been revered as a time of magic and manifestation, when the sun is at the height of its power in the shadow of the waxing Moon.

In old Celtic traditions, the Summer Solstice festival usually spanned several days and focused on outdoor events under the open sun by day, and ’round a large bonfire by night.  Solstice marked the official start of Summer when crops  were ripening, and trees and bushes were starting to produce fruit.  It was a time of giving thanks to the Gods & Goddesses of the Sun, Fire, Fertility, & Abundance.

Whether you are flying solo this Solstice or celebrating with a group, take some time to connect with the energy of the Sun, and the Spirit of the new season.  The exact days and rituals of Summer Solstice vary from culture to culture and country to country, so be creative.  Put together your own Mid-Summer altar or festival.  Keep in mind this is a celebration of the Sun and the abundance of Summer.  Stop into Earth lore-Plymouth or Livonia and stock up on Sun & Fire candles, & Patchouli, Cinnamon, & Amber incense.  Make a Summer Talisman with Citrine, Sunstone, Gold Tiger Eye, Calendula herb & Orange slices.

Above all, this is a time to celebrate life, and the fruits of our labor.  It is a time to give thanks for our spiritual gifts and to pass our blessings on to others.

To all of our readers & patrons,

Happy Summer Solstice from all of us at Earth lore.

Burning Resin and Herbs

by Kate

Charcoal

Burning Resins on Charcoal

Most people are used to burning what is now considered normal incense. You simply light the end of a pre-rolled scented stick or cone, set it in a burner and voila! However, before people burned incense that was pre-made, they burned herbs and resins and hot coals or rocks. It may seem surprisingly simple once you’ve learned how but many of our customers still are unsure of how to burn resin and herbs as incense. This easy tutorial will get you on the fast track to aromatic nirvana in no time!

Items needed:

  • Resins/Herbs
  • Charcoal Tablets
  • Burner (Holder)
  • Lighter

Resins and Herbs

Resins are basically pieces of hardened tree sap. Do you know the story of the three magi who brought Frankincense and Myrrh to celebrate the birth of Christ? These resins were highly valued for not only their aromatic qualities but for their medicinal healing properties as well. At the time, they were worth their weight in gold! Don’t worry. You don’t have to spend a fortune these days to enjoy such rich aromas. We carry both frankincense and myrhh for just $2.95 an ounce, as well Dragon’s Blood, a variety of Copals, Benzoin and more!. Each of these resins have their own enchanting scent and healing properties.

Many people have familiarity with basic kitchen/cooking herbs, but did you know they make great incense as well? Burning herbs and dried flowers like lavender, cinnamon, rose as well as many others can set a wonderful ambiance in one’s home. Herbs and resins can be mixed together to create personalized signature scents or to make incense with magical intentions. (Keep reading for recipes!)

Charcoal Tablets

This is the ingredient many people are unfamiliar with. You do not want to burn charcoal you would use in a BBQ grill in your home! SwiftLite Charcoal mini tablets are made with the specific purpose of burning indoors.(Available at Earth Lore: $2.95) Because charcoal emits carbon monoxide when burned, it is important to only use these smaller tablets in a well ventilated area. They are easy to use and considered generally safe when used in the manner described. However, always remember when burning anything: A little common sense goes a long way! (i.e. Don’t burn in closet with the door closed. Don’t set on a windowsill without first securing curtains.)

Burners (Incense Holders)

Burners can be a bowl, urn or a plate. Anything that can withstand the heat will work but its best to purchase something designed with burning incense in mind. I recommend burning in a bowl with silica sand (only $0.29 per bag!) for a variety of reasons. First the sand absorbs some of the heat of the charcoal, which reduces the likelihood of the burner scorching the table/counter its sitting on. (Never set a burner on or near something flamable, like say Gramma’s favorite chair. Always place away from pets, children and others who may not realize its burning.) Second, when using a decorative bowl filled with sand, it doubles as a regular incense holder for both sticks and cones. Its easy to clean. (Extinguish anything still burning. Dump out sand. Refill bowl.) Earth Lore carries a wide selection of burners to compliment any décor.

How to Burn Incense on Charcoal:

  1. Hold charcoal tablet in air. (Although I personally use my hands, I do not recommend this. Only fools play with fire. 🙂 Its best to use some type of tongs or pliers.)  The reason you do this is to allow air to flow around the charcoal – othewise, it may extinguish itself before it gets lit.
  2. Hold flame for about 20 seconds on either side of charcoal. Matches will do in a pinch but lighters work better. They can be difficult to light while sitting in the burner.  You will probably see it spark a little bit – this means it’s self-igniting like it’s supposed to.  Once you’ve lit it, set it down! It will get very hot. VERY.
  3. Wait for a minute or two to allow charcoal to fully ignite and warm up. You’ll notice ash along the edges. Its ready!
  4. Place just a pinch or your resin, herb or homemade mixture onto charcoal. No, really just a pinch! You don’t want to extinguish it. If you’re planning on using several herbs/resins; crush and mix them first. A small pinch can scent a whole room for hours.
  5. Make sure to reseal any left overs for use at a later time. (Hey, an excuse to buy a pretty decorative box to store supplies in! 🙂

Enjoy! I find writing down my experiments with resins to be helpful in creating recipes.

Protection Incense:

  • 1 part Frankincense
  • 1 part Sandalwood
  • ½ part Rosemary
  • ½ part White Sage

Get Me Out of this Recession Incense:

  • 1 part Cinnamon
  • 1 part Benzoin
  • ½ part Patchouli
  • ½ part Ginger

Seriously Sexy Confidence Incense:

  • 2 parts Dragon’s Blood
  • 1 part Rose Petals
  • 1 part Lavender
  • ½ part Jasmine

All of these ingredients and more can be found on our herb rack. I suggest reading Cunningham’s Complete Book of Incense Oils and Brews for more recipes. Most of our herbs are $2.95 per ounce. In addition to making your own incense, we also carry a new line of resin incenses that are premixed for spiritual and aromatic pleasure: Majesty Incense. These come in conveniently packaged tins filled with 1.5 ounces of incenses. Majesty Incense are only available at our Plymouth location. Scents include Frankincense, Myrrh, Frankincense & Myrrh, Celtic Blend, Three Kings, and Gloria.

The Great Incense FAQ – The Smelly Truth: Part 2

Incense

Incense

Well here we are, at the beginning of the second edition of the Great Incense FAQ.  The first part covered most of the basic questions I get, so this second part will be dedicated to some of the more obscure inquiries that I have found interesting, and also to some of the important questions that few people ask but should.  So, without further ado, on to the questions!

Q: Where does incense burning come from?

A: As early as the 50th century BCE, people have been burning incense in one form or another.  The date is probably much earlier than that, really, but when one looks back 7000 years things get a little fuzzy.  It’s doubtful that cavemen would have missed that placing certain woods or resins on the fire produced a certain, distinctive aroma.

The earliest records of incense trade date to around the 30th century BCE, and it is known that some of the areas involved in this kind of trade included Vedic India, ancient Egypt, Persia, Babylonia and Rome.  All of these cultures used incenses of different kinds in a spiritual capacity, whether in actual religious ritual or to bring about aromatheraputic benefits (a term that would not be coined until 1937 AD).

Q: Will I set my house on fire with incense?

A: Probably not.  Like anything that burns or smolders openly, once incense is lit it is inadvisable to leave it unattended.  That being said, I have to admit that I have never heard of anyone burning their house down in this way.  The worst things that have been reported to me involve burning a line in the carpet (from a dropped incense stick), and circles on the table (from burning charcoal in a brass screen burner without a coaster).  Candles are far more dangerous.

Q: ‘Ash Catchers’ don’t seem to do a very good job of catching ash.  Is there a tidier way?

A: There are three kind of burners that I can recommend for this problem:

  • Smokers – most commonly, smoking bottles and statues.  This is very tidy because the incense is enclosed, so there is nowhere for the ash to fall except straight back into the burner.
  • Lay-down-type burners – any kind of burner that has a wide-mesh metal screen or a row of small metal bars that allow you to lay the incense flat instead of sticking it into a hole and leaving it suspended.
  • A wide bowl filled with sand – you wouldn’t think that this would be one of the tidier ways, but incense that is stuck straight up in sand will have a tendency to collect more ash before it falls off the stick, making it heavier as a whole and limiting the distance it is likely to drift with small eddies in the air currents.

Q: You mentioned some incenses in your previous article that can cost in the hundreds of dollars.  Is the expensive stuff REALLY that much better than the less-costly variety?

A: ‘Better’ is a relative term.  Some people think so (especially in Japan), others much prefer the more pedestrian incenses.  The best answer/advice that I can give to this is, if you are interested or curious about finding a ‘better’ incense, to start at the lower end of the spectrum and pick up some of the rolled Japanese incenses.  These are your best bargains, and give you an idea of what to expect from some of the more expensive ones.  If you want to jump straight into the really fine stuff, our Plymouth shop carries 8-stick sample packs that bring the price down to a more comfortable level for most people.

Q: Should I use incense when I’m meditating/praying/performing a ritual?

A: Of course you should!  People have been doing this since time immortal, and even mainstream religon continues to do it to this day!

What I recommend in a meditational incense is a very light variety – something that scents the air without demanding attention, so to speak. Keep it a respectable distance from where you will be sitting, because there is little more distracting than getting a noseful of scented smoke while you’re trying to transcend the material plane.

For ritual use, on the other hand, I recommend getting old-school and using charcoal and resins/herbs/woods.  This is the purest way to burn (the way the Catholics do it), and the most fitting offering to your respective deity/spiritual power.  The downside, of course, is that it requires more attention than the self-burning variety.

Q: My incense is called ‘frankincense and myrrh’, does that mean it actually contains those things?

A: Not necessarily – in fact, much of the time the answer is ‘No’.  Most incense is made with scented oils which, no matter how much they smell like real materials, do not actually contain them.  The only ones you can be assured contain real resins/herbs/woods are some of the better Japanese varieties and Fred Soll’s resin-on-a-stick line.  If you need absolute purity and certainty in what you are burning, buy the natural material by itself and burn it on charcoal.

Well, that’s about all the things I can think of to say about incense right now.  I hope that this little tutorial has been instructive to some of you, and that the next time you come in to pick up a pack of incense you will do it with more confidence as a better-educated consumer.  The only way to learn more about the subject is, in my opinion, to start trying different kinds and brands.  If ever you are in doubt, the Earth Lore staff can usually make some good reccomendations.

Happy sniffing!

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