incense


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incense,

perfume diffused by the burning of aromatic gums or spices. Incense was used in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome and is mentioned in the Old and the New Testaments. It is also found in the major religions of Asia. The Babylonians used it while praying in the 6th and 5th cent. B.C. and the Greeks used it as protection against demons during the 8th cent. B.C. The earliest clear record of its use in public worship in the Roman Catholic Church is c.500.

Incense

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Incense is the perfumed fumigation that results from the burning of various gum resins, flowers, barks, roots, dried seeds, and herbs. Burning incense has been a part of magical and religious rites for thousands of years. True incense is actually limited exclusively to frankincense, the gum resin of trees of the Boswellia family, growing chiefly on the Somali coast of east Africa. But today the term "incense" is applied to a variety of substances. It was believed in the past that incense smoke carried one's prayers up to the gods.

A memorial stone placed on the breast of the Sphinx in Gaza, Egypt, shows Tuthmosis (Thothmes) IV (1533 BCE) pouring libations of wine to his deity Ra and offering him incense. Worshiping deities and burning incense in their honor is one of the most common scenes depicted in ancient Egyptian art, which is carved and painted in the temple interiors. Egyptians worshiped Ra at sunrise with resin, at midday with myrrh, and at sunset with kuphi (a compound of sixteen ingredients, including sweet calamus, honey, raisins, resin, myrrh, and wine). The usual Egyptian censer, or thurible, was a hemispherical bronze bowl supported by a long handle. The bowl rested in a formed hand, while at the other end there was the symbol of Ra, most often a hawk's head crowned with a disc.

From early use in Egypt and Babylonia, incense spread to Greece and Rome. Homer mentions the burning of incense, as does Hesiod. It is probable that gums and resins from around the Indian Ocean began finding their way into Greece by the eighth or seventh centuries BCE. The Orphic Hymns specify a variety of incenses for the deities, all of which were selected based on some occult significance. Frankincense became popular with the Romans, first for religious rites, then for state occasions. It was offered on a daily basis to the household deities, the Lars familiaris.

Incense did not find its way into Christian ritual until the fifth century CE,

although it had been a part of Judaic ritual since the seventh century BCE. One of its earliest uses occurred in England, as remains that have since been labeled "incense cups" were found in barrows on Salisbury Plain, not far from Stonehenge. According to Doreen Valiente, the cups are small round vessels of clay with perforations on all sides that could only have been used for burning incense.

Incense is a part of all Wiccan rituals. Not only does it create a positive atmosphere, but it also induces a feeling of being separated from the ordinary, everyday world. Witches speak of their time inside the consecrated Circle as being "between the worlds"—neither in this world nor yet in the next. The smoke and perfume of the incense, combined with the flickering candlelight, help reinforce that feeling.

Modern incense is usually available in three different forms: as long, thin sticks that may be lit and that burn down slowly; as small concentrated cones, which again may be lit and are self-burning; and in a powder, which must be sprinkled onto burning charcoal. Although the first two forms are convenient and are commonly used in homes and private ritual rooms, the powdered form is most commonly used in coven rituals. A lit charcoal briquet is placed in a censer, and the incense is sprinkled on it. Frequently the censer is suspended by chains, so that it can be swung to keep the charcoal alight. Such thuribles are used by Witches, Pagans of all types, ceremonial and other magicians, and by Christian and other churches and temples. Some Solitary Witches favor the Native American practice of burning such dried items as white sage, cedar, and sweet grass.

incense

1. any of various aromatic substances burnt for their fragrant odour, esp in religious ceremonies
2. the odour or smoke so produced
References in classic literature ?
He was a gentleman before he was gazetted, so, when the Empress announced that "Gentleman-Cadet Robert Hanna Wick" was posted as Second Lieutenant to the Tyneside Tail Twisters at Krab Bokhar, he became an officer and a gentleman, which is an enviable thing; and there was joy in the house of Wick, where Mamma Wick and all the little Wicks fell upon their knees and offered incense to Bobby by virtue of his achievements.
Then the sun came out, and drew forth the good incense of the deodars and the rhododendrons, and that far-off, clean smell which the Hill people call "the smell of the snows.
We cannot help perceiving abundance of filth in every kennel, and, were it not for the over-powering fumes of idolatrous incense, I have no doubt we should find a most intolerable stench.
Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight- Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow,) That bade me pause before that garden-gate, To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?
Flowers, incense, gleaming tapers, velvet cushions embroidered with gold, were everywhere.
Still marching through the venerable Church of the Holy Sepulchre, among chanting priests in coarse long robes and sandals; pilgrims of all colors and many nationalities, in all sorts of strange costumes; under dusky arches and by dingy piers and columns; through a sombre cathedral gloom freighted with smoke and incense, and faintly starred with scores of candles that appeared suddenly and as suddenly disappeared, or drifted mysteriously hither and thither about the distant aisles like ghostly jack-o'-lanterns--we came at last to a small chapel which is called the "Chapel of the Mocking.
The pilgrim woman was appeased and, being encouraged to talk, gave a long account of Father Amphilochus, who led so holy a life that his hands smelled of incense, and how on her last visit to Kiev some monks she knew let her have the keys of the catacombs, and how she, taking some dried bread with her, had spent two days in the catacombs with the saints.
I did not make the acquaintance of Thackeray's books all at once, or even in rapid succession, and he at no time possessed the whole empire of my catholic, not to say, fickle, affections, during the years I was compassing a full knowledge and sense of his greatness, and burning incense at his shrine.
For I suspect that many will not be satisfied with the simpler way of way They will be for adding sofas, and tables, and other furniture; also dainties, and perfumes, and incense, and courtesans, and cakes, all these not of one sort only, but in every variety; we must go beyond the necessaries of which I was at first speaking, such as houses, and clothes, and shoes: the arts of the painter and the embroiderer will have to be set in motion, and gold and ivory and all sorts of materials must be procured.
INCENSe s second open call, which was launched in June 2015, closed with a total of 257 applications from Europe and Israel.
CATHEDRALS are worried that planned new laws banning socalled legal highs could make it a crime to use incense in services.
Picture, for example, the incense used at Mass--mostly during the entrance procession, at the proclamation of the gospel, at the offertory, or at the elevation of the Eucharist after the consecration.