Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Frankincense, along with myrrh, is the quintessential “Christmas gift” in Christian culture. The Magi, those mysterious “wise men” or, if you prefer “kings”, who came to gawk at the Christ child on Epiphany, brought with them the two most expensive tree resins in the ancient East. And they threw in some gold to boot.

In fact, frankincense had a long history when the authors of the New Testament wrote down their tale. It had been burned by the Ancient Sumerians and particularly the Egyptians as an offering to the rising sun. The use of frankincense as a holy incense by the Jews is mentioned in the Old Testament. It is still used in the censors that smog the occasional Mass at Catholic Churches, although the burning of incense seems to have fallen out of favor with the Roman church. Frankincense is believed, in hoodoo and other magickal disciplines, to be an herb of power. By adding it to just about any preparation, whether it be incense, mojo bags or sachets, powders, oils or waters, one can increase the efficacy of any magickal undertaking.

Frankincense is, as stated before, hardened resin from a hearty little tree that originally grew wild in the dry conditions of the Ancient Middle East. Burning the resin to scent and purify the air is its most well known use and small chunks of frankincense burned on charcoal uplift the space and drive off crossed conditions. Frankincense is excellent for clearing any area after a negative incident (a robbery at a business or a fight in a home) and some magickal practitioners will not begin any working without it.

Add a small hunk of frankincense, while concentrating on your desired outcome, to any premade oil, perfume, incense or what have you that you buy for spell work. The preparation will be strengthened by the herb and your personal intent. Burn frankincense, which is frequently mixed with its close relatives myrrh and copal, to aid in vision work and meditation. Put some shavings of frankincense in a white cotton or silk bag while imagining a restful night’s sleep. Touch the bag to your forehead before you turn out the lights. You’ll sleep deeply and without rousing in the middle of the night. Moms: this works (to a lesser degree, sorry to say) on babies and toddlers, too.

Finally, consider giving the gift of frankincense and its mate myrrh (which we will discuss next Tuesday) with a small incense burner and some incense charcoals as a house warming or hostess gift. Almost universally, it will be gratefully received and hopefully put to good use regardless of religion or creed. If nothing else, it will make the house smell wonderful. Bon chance ~

Header: Adoration of the Magi by Albrecht Durer (note that Albrecht has featured himself prominently as one of the Magi; he’s the guy standing in the center with the flowing hair and beard)


Capt. John Swallow said...

Some o' me ancient ancestors...The Magi were another mis-translation (or more likely, flat out changed) in the many inceptions of The Bible. The Magi are an ancient tradition of mystics & priests - early progenitors of medicine, science, etc. (hence the term "magic" as performed by "mages"). "Wise Men" was a much more apt description than "Kings"...but less impressive when herding sheep...

That same poorly translated, often re-written book also leaves out the tale of the FOURTH Magi...Artaban who was side-tracked along the way (history has all but erased him, but a few books have been written with some truths http://j.mp/hZleDH)

Timmy! said...

Now that's an authentic Christmas gift, Pauline...

I was also going to make a joke about a rubber cigar, but I will refrain.

Pauline said...

Thanks for adding some history on the Magi, Captain. I had not heard about the fourth and forgotten Magi but of course the issue is not surprising when one looks at all the so called "lost" books of the Bible. Too many too count and way to much left out.

Hey, Timmy! Thank you for your discression on that one.

Capt. John Swallow said...

Ye know, if someone compiled & translated all the "lost books" of the Bible it might be closer to the intended book! Have a look at John Hare's amazing collection "the largest freely available archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance and scholarship, and has the largest readership of any similar site on the web." http://www.sacred-texts.com (DV worth purchase & keeps the site/research/transcription going)