The Everyday Lore Project

18 June 2020 – Incense pt 2: The Burn

18 June 2020 – Incense pt 2: The Burn

Today I’ve outdone myself in being dull. I’ve just observed my incense burn, the folklore equivalent of watching paint dry. The instructions said to leave it between five and seven days, and so this morning, I checked, and it was all dry and solid, if a little crumbly. So Operation Burn, Baby, Burn, was on. 

As you can see from this fascinating video, it lit:

And then it went out again two minutes later. The next burn went on for ten minutes. And then the next for 19 minutes before suddenly extinguishing all smoke and morphing into a glowing ashy heart that looked like a bleeding wound every time I prodded it with a matchstick. 

As you can see from these fascinating photos:

Despite my writ large snark, it actually went surprisingly well. To begin with, it just smelled of bidis and was very smoky. But then the lavender started coming through and it lost it’s slightly sharp tang. The juniper was there too, just a hint, but for about the first five minutes, nothing from the rosemary. Then the rosemary elbowed itself to the front and followed me from room to room. But lean in, and the treacly marshmallow hovered. By this time the sitting room looked like it was caught in the grip of a sea fret and if I hadn’t accidentally painted my window shut, I probably would have thrown it open. But then it all stopped, and all that was left was ash. And the smell of rosemary.

I’m feeling well chuffed. I made incense. Decent incense. If a teeny bit smoggy. And I do have a little bit of a headache. And I would quite like to go to sleep. And there’s a taste in my mouth. And I’m pretty sure my ‘stupidness’ is still hanging around. But still, I made incense. Folklore for the win!

Culpeper (1995) Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, Ware, Wordsworth Editions Ltd

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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