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a container for burning incense, esp one swung at religious ceremonies

Censer ; Thurible

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

As its name implies, the censer holds incense and dispenses smoke during rituals. The ecclesiastical name for it is thurible. It is equated with the element of Air. Frequently the censer is hung on the end of a chains, or chains, so that it might be swung to promote the burning of the charcoal on which the incense rests. It is usually a metal vessel, perforated with holes, into which glowing charcoal is placed and incense is sprinkled onto the charcoal.

Ancient Egyptian censers were small bowls with a handle. Those used by the Greeks and the Romans were more like braziers. They were not swung, being much heavier than today's censers and were often made of bronze or iron. Early Jewish censers were like the Egyptian ones, and were shaped like ladles.

In Wicca the censing of the Circle is part of its consecration at the start of every coven ritual. Each person in the circle is similarly censed, as a cleansing. Any object—amulet, talisman, working tool—is censed when consecrated.

References in periodicals archive ?
The collection of incense burners are made of borosilicate (Pyrex), a special glass that is clear and heat-resistant.
SURPRISE FIND This Chinese incense burner was discovered in the bathroom of a house near Morpeth
The most ancient Taoist oratories (Ching Shi or Pure Chamber or Calm Room) are described as empty except for the incense burner (Needham 1972).
CUTLINE: (1) Exhibit curator Virginia Raguin stands behind a glass case containing one item from each religion represented in the show: A Bodhisattva of Wisdom, from the Ming Dynasty; a Christian incense burner made in Genoa during the early part of the 17th century; and a ceramic tile from 13th-century Iran.
Inside have a bench, incense burner and some Eastern style cushions, and conjure the mood with a sweet scented jasmine and a bamboo plant nearby.
An incense burner in the form of a cockerel originates from 19th-century Japan.
An autograph book and pen used by Zaphod, played by Sam Rockwell, sold for pounds 177, Humma Kavula's incense burner went for pounds 139 and a bright red foam hand used in the Deep Thought Crowd Scene fetched pounds 73.
The third was attacked as he was being taught how to swing an incense burner.
Grandmother's picture in a golden frame and an incense burner, led the procession.
Harvard University anthropologist Alfred Tozzer researched native religion in Lacandon country one hundred years ago and was one of the few outsiders to attend an incense burner renewal ceremony.
3) Cardinal Roger Mahony swings a censer, an incense burner, in a blessing at the altar in Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral on Christmas Day.
I heard whispered and then shouted around me as the largest incense burner I have ever seen slowly descended on the other end of that rope from the rafters high above the crossing.