Friday, June 18, 2010

Waxing Crescent Moon in Virgo - Freya's Day

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

7th Day of the 7th Lunar Cycle
Ruled by Kore
Lunar Tree Cycle ~ Duir/Oak
7th Day of the Celtic Tree Month ~ Duir/Oak
Moon Phase: waxing Crescent
Moon sets: 12:35AM EDST
Moon rises: 12:57PM EDST
Moon in the Mutable Earth Sign
of Virgo
Blodeuwedd's Cycle of the Moon
Lunar Meditation: The skills that
you posses.
Sun in Gemini
Sunrise: 5:49AM EDST
Sunset: 8:52PM EDST
Solar Question for the Day "What do
you need to learn or master at this time?"
Beltaine (Calan Mai) Quarter of the Year
June 18th, 2010

Moon in Virgo - Yesterday the moon moved into the Mutable Earth Sign of Virgo - a transit having issues of practicality, organization, and attending to loose ends. The keyword for this moon transit is "I analyze."  During this transit there can be a tendency to excessive criticism both of oneself and others. Emotionally it is an inward time when we can reflect on personal relationships.
   There are Major magickal energies for spells and rites concerning Romance. After all it is Freya's Day!


Sticks with Bamboo Rods

  This is the form that most Americans think of when you mention incense. These days, even grocery stores and pharmacies carry nationally known incense brands. Many people like this form of incense but the author of "Incense: Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents" most definitely does not.  Carl Neal, the author of the book, considers it one of the worst forms.  As I look at most of the incense sticks I have I can see they are that form.  OK, I have gotten used to using them because they are easy to stick into something and burn, they are readily available most everywhere and they come in a huge variety of scents.  But I am opening my mind up to what Carl Neal is pointing out here about these common incense sticks.  Sigh, why is the easy way so often found to be not the best way.  So here is what he says.
    Have you even wondered why the incense that has that stick up the middle?  Does it help the incense burn? No, in fact it frequently stops the stick from burning. In fact, there are two types of incense that use bamboo sticks. The first are rolled incense. This is rare, but not unheard of. Some natural incense is quite weak and won't stand on its own even when dry. It is wound around the stick for support. Some people also roll incense and then insert a bamboo stick into the stick (at least one major producer does this).
   Much more commonly, the stick in question began life as a 'blank' incense stick and oil was then added to it. The vast majority of commercial incense is made in this fashion. This type of incense is easy to make. Unscented 'blanks', which are what you get if you buy 'punks' at a fireworks stand, are soaked in synthetic fragrance oils (and remember synthetic oils usually have extenders of DPG - dipropylene glycol methyl ether). Most of the sticks (even cones) on the market are made this way. Certainly not all, but the great majority (including most popular brands). Carl Neal encourages us to do ourselves a favor and avoid burning this type of incense.  Even if you don't decide to make your own incense from natural ingredients, at least reading about what is in your commercially brought will give you an understanding about what you buying.
    Regardless of which reason incense has a stick, the stick itself offers a drawback. Sticks of bamboo like that don't want to burn. Light the end of a bamboo skewer and blow out the flame. It glows for a moment and goes out. Therefore your incense has to burn well enough to not only burn itself but that bamboo rod as well. If you're making natural incense that needs the support, use the sticks. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and forget the bamboo rod.
     If the sticks are so bad, why are they created in the first place?  The primary reason is physical strength. That bamboo rod makes the incense much more durable during shipping. The finer forms of incense are more prone to breakage than incense with bamboo rods. Keep in mind that most incense sold in North America is made in India. Even the bulk of incense made in North American is produced using Indian or Chinese incense blanks.
[From: "Incense:Crafting & Use of Magickal Scents" by Carl F. Neal]

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