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a container for burning incense, esp one swung at religious ceremonies
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

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.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Particularly sought after were the religious figures--the Buddhas and Guanyins, or Bodhisattvas of Compassion, particularly worshipped in Fujian--and devotional objects such as incense burners, candlesticks, flower vases, and libation cups.
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