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Incense Burning Tool You Have To See!

incensewoes

Last month when I moved into my new apartment my excitement for the new place was slightly dashed on day 3 or 4 when I discovered that burning some of my usual incense set off the smoke alarms.  Normally this wouldn’t be that big of a deal because I’d disconnect the detector in my office where I also keep my altar space, however that’s not an option here.

My new place is practically brand new {the building is just a year old} and everything is high tech and up to date.  That means our alarm system is actually hardwired to the building. So no simple pulling the battery out to shut it up over here.  Though it was hilarious and I’ll never be able to mistake that there is a fire since not only does a regular alarm go off but it also has a voice yelling “FIRE!  FIRE!”.

A lot of the incense that I burn is powder, herbs, and resins that require charcoal to burn.  That’s the real problem for me in this apartment – the charcoal.

Burning things on charcoal means a fairly uncontrolled burn and a LOT of smoke.

Burning incense is a part of my daily spiritual practice and it’s a big part of how I set the mood and vibe in my office for the day.  Depending on the work I have to do that day or the clients I’m going to be working with I use different kinds of incense.

Every morning during my meditation and mala practice I burn a stick of Lord Buddha incense, which is a compressed herb incense.  The smoke from that doesn’t set off the alarms.  Neither does any of the typical joss stick incense.  But what about my resins?  My powders?  My herbs I like to burn?  I had to find a solution.

This was it!

Photo Jul 18, 8 10 50 AM (1)

Golden Lotus Electric Incense Heater

Yup, an incense heater!

I purchased the heater from Mermade Magickal Arts, a company I’ve been buying incense from for probably 15+ years now.  I was introduced to them by a Priestess I worked with years ago – she used to burn a previous version of their Goddess Hymn incense during full moon ceremonies. I’ve used their stuff ever since.

You put the incense inside a little foil cup.  It sits on a mini-hot plate inside the heater, which you have full control over how hot it gets, and this allows the oils and scent from the incense to be released.  It works with resin, powder, and herbs.  You can even use it to diffuse oils too!

cup
switch

The incense goes in pieces of foil and are placed on the hot plate.
The switch gives you complete control over how hot and fast the incense will heat up.

I decided to experiment with some amber incense to get started to see how resins would heat up in here.  Here’s how it went!

resinin
resinout

This is the amber resin when it went in and then after 2 hours in the heater. 

I changed the temperature from about 220 to 180 to 250 over the course of the 2 hours to see how the resin would burn at different temperatures.  As you can see from the after picture even with 2 hours in the heater there are still sizable pieces that can be used.

The scent was perfect and it started to release at about 3 minutes.  It stayed consistent through the full 2 hours and lingered long after.  Unlike when you burn amber resin on charcoal where it melts down in about 3-5 minutes and releases the scent in a plume of smoke and the smokey smell lingers longer than the amber smell.

This isn’t to say that it’s completely smokeless.  But I would compare the smoke that is given off to vapor smoke.  It’s light and dissipates almost as soon as you see it.  This compared to the thick smoke of burning things on charcoal. It’s less smoke and lighter smoke than even joss stick incense.

Once my resin experiment was done and successful it was time to work with the incense that initially set off the smoke detectors.  It’s some Obstacle Remover incense from Rita’s.  I love this incense and I like burning it at the start of the week in my office for a good, clear path to the week ahead.  But without the fanfare of alarms.  Here’s how that went.

powder
powderin

The scent was definitely lighter and even a little different from what I’m used to, but again I’m going to attribute that to the fact that it’s burning clean and not on coal.  This also has a few chunks of resin/resin-like ingredients here and there that helped with the burning but I did also try scooping that out and letting just the herbs and powder heat up and it worked just the same.  Light scent with a consistent release.

I can’t sing the praises of this device enough!  It’s the perfect solution for anyone that can’t burn incense where they live.  This is perfect for you if…

  • You have super sensitive smoke detectors.
  • You live in a dorm room where incense and candles aren’t allowed {but hot plates are OK}.
  • Someone in your home is allergic or asthmatic and the smoke effects them.
  • You get nervous with burning things on charcoal.
  • You don’t like the smell of incense burned on charcoal but you like the incense itself.

While I will miss the mystical sight of incense plumes popping and dancing over the coals and the messages that the spirits in the ethers can deliver through the act of burning herbs on coals, this is the best option for me indoors.  It allows me to still use the incense for ritual and magic as well as for general enjoyment without the fog left behind by coal burning incense…and no animatronic sounding voice yelling “FIRE! FIRE!” at me.

Comments

  1. Tomi says

    This is a Goddess send! Thank you thank you thank you! As someone who lives in a Goverment run apartment with strict rules and VERY good smoke alarms, I am grateful! I will be looking into this. I can’t tell you how sad I was to not be able to burn my incense when I moved in.

    • Jess Carlson says

      It is an amazing tool! I’m still experimenting with different things in it. There is a little sense of ceremony that is lost but it makes it possible to burn incense again and that matters more to me. 🙂

  2. Reba says

    This is awesome!It’s a much healthier option with my COPD. Thanks for the info Jess!

  3. Aranya says

    So needed this!! I had this a huge incident with burning frankincense in my apartment and it looked like the apartment was on fire. I haven’t burned any charcoal incense since then. Thanks for posting!

  4. Mandi says

    Hi there,
    Very new to burning incense and I’m wondering if you’re burning on is aluminum? I’m very careful when it comes to ingesting chemicals. Correct me if I’m wrong but when heated doesn’t the aluminum give off a vapor? Isn’t it dangerous to ingest this. We don’t use aluminum foil in our home. Currently I’m using coconut charcoals and it’s a pain in my bum! I would love to switch to an electrical burner but am interested to know what the little metal pieces you’re burning on are composed of. Thanks!

    • Jess Carlson says

      The incense burner comes with a metal try that you an use without the foil cups if you’re that concerned. It doesn’t give off any noticeable vapor or smell and it doesn’t get hot enough to burn or singe the foil cups. I don’t know EXACTLY what they are made of but if you’re that concerned then you can skip it and use the metal tray, it will just be a bitch to clean between uses. I personally don’t have any worries about the foil cups with the heater. If it’s giving off any potentially dangerous vapor it’s extremely minimal because it doesn’t get that hot. It’s not like putting foil in a 450 degree oven. Maybe you should skip incense and work with essential oils…and you’ll definitely want to say away from mass produced incense in stick or cone form because they contain chemicals of a variety of types.

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