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Author Topic: Beginner Incense questions  (Read 8236 times)
Drgong
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« Topic Start: October 19, 2009, 06:41:45 pm »

 I was just informed by email that a friend ordered me some Nippon Kodo Incense and a incense holder for my birthday.    So she being sweet as she knows I was looking into Roman Numina and ancestor worship (or she giving me a hint my bachelors apartment could use a air-freshener (gulp)).   So is this brand a good brand?  and also is there any hints on how to use or handle the Incense?

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« Reply #1: October 19, 2009, 08:25:50 pm »

So is this brand a good brand?  and also is there any hints on how to use or handle the Incense?

I've not tried the Nippon Kodo brand, so I really can't say if it's good.

Incense use in a nutshell:
  • Store incense where it won't be in contact with any potential ignition sources or any kind of moisture.
  • Always use a heatproof burner to hold the incense, placed well away from anything flammable.
  • When you're ready to use it, light the tip of the incense (stick or cone) with a match or lighter, let it burn for a moment, and blow out the flame.  The incense should no longer be "on fire" but should be giving off smoke.
  • Like any open heat source, it's best not to leave incense unattended while burning.
  • If you need to extinguish the incense before it's completely burned, carefully take it to the sink and place the incense under running water.
  • If you have any allergies or issues with smoke, it's best not to burn incense inside. (If indoor odor is a problem, there are air sprays that will do a better job than incense).

If you're using a herbal, resin or powdered incense, let me know, as these are done a bit differently than stick and cone incenses.
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« Reply #2: October 19, 2009, 09:06:19 pm »

I've not tried the Nippon Kodo brand, so I really can't say if it's good.

Incense use in a nutshell:
  • Store incense where it won't be in contact with any potential ignition sources or any kind of moisture.
  • Always use a heatproof burner to hold the incense, placed well away from anything flammable.
  • When you're ready to use it, light the tip of the incense (stick or cone) with a match or lighter, let it burn for a moment, and blow out the flame.  The incense should no longer be "on fire" but should be giving off smoke.
  • Like any open heat source, it's best not to leave incense unattended while burning.
  • If you need to extinguish the incense before it's completely burned, carefully take it to the sink and place the incense under running water.
  • If you have any allergies or issues with smoke, it's best not to burn incense inside. (If indoor odor is a problem, there are air sprays that will do a better job than incense).

If you're using a herbal, resin or powdered incense, let me know, as these are done a bit differently than stick and cone incenses.

Thanks, she bought me a specially made wooden burner with some brass fittings and places to put sticks in, with sun and moon symbols on it.   

Thanks, sounds like "common fire safety" but never bad to review, kinda like firearm safety at a range, it never hurts to go over the safety rules now and then.   Grin

I guessing the resin and powdered incense you have to put on hot coals to heat up? 

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« Reply #3: October 19, 2009, 09:12:17 pm »

I was just informed by email that a friend ordered me some Nippon Kodo Incense and a incense holder for my birthday.    So she being sweet as she knows I was looking into Roman Numina and ancestor worship (or she giving me a hint my bachelors apartment could use a air-freshener (gulp)).   So is this brand a good brand?  and also is there any hints on how to use or handle the Incense?



I LOVE Nippon Kodo incense. I think the stuff is wonderful. Of course, I happen to like the Asian sticks over the dipped sticks of the US. So perhaps I'm partial Wink

I own some of their Sandalwood incense, along with their Aloeswood incense (which is hard to find). The sticks aren't like the standard sticks you buy in the US. They aren't dipped, and are a bit thinner. They are far less messy, and smell wonderful.

It's definitely a good brand, so long as the scent you receive is one you're fond of.
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« Reply #4: October 19, 2009, 09:12:47 pm »

I guessing the resin and powdered incense you have to put on hot coals to heat up?

Essentially yes, you'd use charcoal tabs in a fireproof holder.
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« Reply #5: October 20, 2009, 05:38:12 am »

If you're using a herbal, resin or powdered incense, let me know, as these are done a bit differently than stick and cone incenses.

Nippon Kodo is the Asian stick stuff--no loose incense to worry about.  It's not bad, though I prefer doing my own loose stuff on charcoal.
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« Reply #6: October 20, 2009, 05:43:45 am »

Nippon Kodo is the Asian stick stuff--no loose incense to worry about.  It's not bad, though I prefer doing my own loose stuff on charcoal.

For incense sticks I really prefer the Japanese styles (don't know right now, if I have Nippon Kodo for sure, but I think I do.)
They smell good and they do not have a wood stick inside, so it's just the pure incense.

For major things, like a cleansing or some ritual stuff, I too prefer loose incense and charcoal. But inside a house that stuff goes a looooong way.
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« Reply #7: October 20, 2009, 01:46:07 pm »

I guessing the resin and powdered incense you have to put on hot coals to heat up? 

I actually burn those on a strip of aluminum foil over a tea candle (put the candle in the bottom of a small but deep bowl, foil across the middle) because I find it easier, more reliable, and cheaper than charcoal, but most people use charcoal. Wink
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« Reply #8: October 20, 2009, 02:01:27 pm »

I actually burn those on a strip of aluminum foil over a tea candle (put the candle in the bottom of a small but deep bowl, foil across the middle) because I find it easier, more reliable, and cheaper than charcoal, but most people use charcoal. Wink

I need to try that!  Thanks!
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« Reply #9: November 06, 2009, 11:40:54 am »

I actually burn those on a strip of aluminum foil over a tea candle (put the candle in the bottom of a small but deep bowl, foil across the middle) because I find it easier, more reliable, and cheaper than charcoal, but most people use charcoal. Wink

I do this too. I actually use oil burners for it, by removing the bowl and putting the strip of foil over the place where it was.

I can't fathom using charcoal. It takes ages to heat up, and then once it's hot, how do I get things on it without burning my fingers or missing the piece? (I have no plans to use the discs with convenient round depressions. They smell funny. I have a bag of natural stuff instead.) Plus, wouldn't they *burn* burn the incense, giving a nasty charred scent underlying everything? Or is it the other way around, and just heating some aromatics doesn't really release their full potential.

Can never quite make my mind up about the stuff Tongue But so far it's always been my impatience that's swayed me. Even the stinky quick-light stuff took forever by my standards.
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« Reply #10: November 06, 2009, 12:06:56 pm »

I can't fathom using charcoal. It takes ages to heat up, and then once it's hot, how do I get things on it without burning my fingers or missing the piece? (I have no plans to use the discs with convenient round depressions. They smell funny. I have a bag of natural stuff instead.) Plus, wouldn't they *burn* burn the incense, giving a nasty charred scent underlying everything? Or is it the other way around, and just heating some aromatics doesn't really release their full potential.

Can't help much with the natural stuff, but my experience with the discs:  You get stuff on it by dropping it on.  The radiant heat from one small piece of charcoal isn't so much that it's going to burn your fingers unless you hold them over it for a while and as long as you don't actually touch the surface.  (I gather a spoon of some sort might sometimes be used to help with this, as well? I've always just used my hands, though.)  A few bits and pieces of the loose incense often do miss the charcoal, but as long as most of it gets on you should be fine.  The incense smoulders; it shouldn't flame up, and should take a while to burn through.  There's a spicy smoky scent underlying everything, but not outright char.

That said, I don't know if natural charcoal would get hotter or something and affect the rest of that.  I suspect there's a reason (other than the convenient round depression) why most people burning incense these days seem to use the discs; they're the right size, quick to light/heat, and get to the right temperature.  I'd not noticed that they smelled odd, but I guess that's personal preference...
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« Reply #11: November 06, 2009, 12:39:24 pm »

Essentially yes, you'd use charcoal tabs in a fireproof holder.

I don't think you can find a better holder for charcoal incense than a small cast iron cauldron.  They have the advantage of having three legs, making them pretty stable. 

I use the self-lighting stuff and hold it over a candle flame.  It sparkles while it's lighting up.  I hold it there after the sparkling is done, until it actually glows red.  Sometimes I blow on it a little in case it gets really glowy. 

I fill the cauldron with sand, to absorb heat.  My cauldron is about six inches in diameter with a lid.  The nice thing about the lid is you can put it over the cauldron when you are done with your ritual, and that puts it out pretty quickly (you should still check to make sure it's out before you leave it unattended).  Suffocating your burning charcoal is a lot less messy than drowning it  Smiley 

The saltpeter in the self-lighting stuff does have a really sharp scent, though I find it isn't noticeable once you get the incense on it.  I tried to use the "natural" stuff without saltpeter.  I held it over a candle flame for about 20 minutes and it just never caught.  If anyone has any tips I'd love to hear them. 

Nippon Kodo sounds awesome...I'll have to give it a try.  The Aloeswood is really affordable!  Shoyeido is another good brand http://www.shoyeido.com/. They have an aloeswood incense that you can pay $600.00 for, if you want.  LOL.  Honestly, though, my favorite is autumn leaves
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« Reply #12: November 06, 2009, 12:59:34 pm »

I actually burn those on a strip of aluminum foil over a tea candle (put the candle in the bottom of a small but deep bowl, foil across the middle) because I find it easier, more reliable, and cheaper than charcoal

 Shocked Duh!! Now I can go back to my loose insence and resins!! I've quit using them b/c I've run out of the round charcoal, and haven't yet found a place that carries them here (moved in Aug).

Not to mention when hubby dropped a lit coal which bounced off the (wood) coffee table and hit the carpet... well, I've not been so fond of lit coals in the house ever since... Neither the rug nor the table will ever be quite the same again.. Undecided

I happen to like the Asian sticks over the dipped sticks of the US. So perhaps I'm partial...The sticks aren't like the standard sticks you buy in the US. They aren't dipped, and are a bit thinner. They are far less messy, and smell wonderful.

DITTO!! Even my mother (who gets headaches from stick insence) likes the Asian/Japanese sticks! I think they tend not to be as strong as the dipped sticks too.

For major things, like a cleansing or some ritual stuff, I too prefer loose incense and charcoal. But inside a house that stuff goes a looooong way.

I agree. And the charcoal does have a nice undertone, but the carpet.. and table...
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« Reply #13: November 06, 2009, 01:05:23 pm »


Not to mention when hubby dropped a lit coal which bounced off the (wood) coffee table and hit the carpet... well, I've not been so fond of lit coals in the house ever since... Neither the rug nor the table will ever be quite the same again.. Undecided

That sounds like something I would do XD I'm a klutz.
I myself quit using loose resins because I hate the smell of the charcoal and the amount of smoke it releases. The closest I got to using it is putting it in an oil burner (soapstone) and lighting a candle underneath. You can sort of smell the incense but not enough, that's for sure.  I agree, I;ll have to look into the tin foil thing.

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« Reply #14: November 06, 2009, 01:28:00 pm »

The closest I got to using it is putting it in an oil burner (soapstone) and lighting a candle underneath. You can sort of smell the incense but not enough, that's for sure. 

Does the incense smoke when you use the oil burner? Or is it just for the smell?
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