Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crescent Moon phase

"I'm one with the Goddess
and open to Her Wisdom."

4th Day of the 7th Lunar Cycle
Ruled by Artemis
Lunar Tree Cycle ~ Duir/Oak
4th Day of the Celtic Tree Cycle ~ Duir/Oak
Moon Phase: Crescent phase - 3:48PM EDST
Moon rises: 9:17AM EDST
Moon sets: 11:34PM EDST
Moon in the Fixed Fire Sign
of Leo
Blodeuwedd's Cycle of the Moon
Lunar Meditation: Peace and
concord among earth's nations.
Sun in Gemini
Sunrise: 5:49AM EDST
Sunset: 8:51PM EDST
Solar Question for the Day: "What
is preying on your mind?"
Beltaine (Calan Mai) Quarter of the Year
June 15th, 2010

Crescent Moon - Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, and opportunity. It is the time in a lunar cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal.   
   Today is Tiu's Day - the day of Activity and Physicality, Passion and Desire.  There are minor magickal energies for spells/rites for job hunting.  Go for it!


 Recently I got the book "Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents" by Carl F. Neal.  It has laying around for a while but this morning I picked it up to look through it find out some information for incense that comes in stick form.  I became quite fascinated about learning all the different formats that incense can be made and burned in.  Lately I've been into using loose materials (Herbal) for burning on charcoal blocks for my incense needs.  But for a very long time I had been using the stick incense type. It just seemed easier and more available.  But after reading about how some stick incense is made now a days I don't think I will be using them that much any more.  Thought I would pass this information on for others to read and let them judge for themselves.
    The type of stick incense I am referring to is often called 'dipped incense' and it is made on 'blanks'. A blank is an unscented stick or cone of incense. While there is a long history of dipped incense, in more recent times the quality of dipped incense has begun to be questioned.  Originally blanks were made of sandalwood powder and a type of glue. They are basically an incense 'base' and 'binder' that are rolled and dried. Instead of using plant materials to scent the incense, the sticks are soaked in oils. As the incense burns, the burning oils supply the scent. This doesn't seem to be an issue regarding safety or health. The problems come in from the practice in use by commercial incense makers. Essential oils are not used in making dipped incense. (OK, there may be a very few incense makers out there that do use good quality essential oils but are mostly unknown)  Synthetic fragrance oils are used instead. A great deal of dipped incense is more than likely being made with impure oils. In order to stretch their supplies of oils for scent, commercial incense makers and oil suppliers will add a so-called 'extender' to their oil. The most commonly used one is DPG, which is an abbreviation for 'dipropylene glycol methyl ether.'  It is a chemical that add little scent so the oil can double or triple the amount of oil you have on hand. DPG is relatively harmless in its liquid state but may produce poisonous gas when burned! You don't want to be sitting in clouds of swirling poisonous gases in your incense smoke.
     Also incense blanks are not what they used to be. While blanks were once made from sandalwood or other appropriate woods, modern blanks are made using any wood powder at hand. Most blanks are made in countries with few or no regulations over them and might contain anything including saltpeter or unhealthy adhesives. Most of time there is no way that the incense maker and/or user will know what material might be in the blank. In fact you've brought blank incense sticks if you've ever used 'punk' to light fireworks - they are the exact same thing. Some experts have suggested that many incense blanks release dangerous chemicals themselves when burned (primarily formaldehyde), but there doesn't seem to be any formal research to confirm this.  I'm we have all heard of people who complain that burning incense sticks makes them feel ill or gives them headaches.  The chemicals released by burning low-quality incense might be the culprit. [The kit shown in this picture includes blanks, scented oils, and the harmful chemical DPG. Beware!]
      Of course I don't want to give the impression that all dipped incense is a health hazard or is of lower quality. There are many dedicated incense dippers who would never intentionally cause harm. If dipped incense is made with a high-quality blank and only pure fragrance oils, it should present no danger whatsoever. It's simply impossible to know what quality dipped incense offers - even if you made it yourself.
    Worse yet, the vast majority of dipped incense isn't made by dedicated individuals, but by foreign companies in the same nations that export blank incense to North America and Europe. They often manufacture their incense without regard to anything other than their profit margin. Although not universally true, you should definitely keep the hazards of dipped incense in mind any time you go shopping.  Even 'rolled' incense that buy can contain dangerous chemicals since many incense makers still follow the poor practice of using saltpeter (potassium nitrate) and 'cut' the oils in their incense.
    I am going to have other entries on incense this lunar cycle.  Since this has become of interest to me, I feel that maybe it might be of interest to some my readers.
[excerpts from "Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents" by Carl F. Neal)

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