Uses of Incense
Since the ancient Egyptians started using incense for mystical, religious purposes, incense has had many applications throughout history. Today, it is applied for several purposes, most of them having to do with appeasing gods, casting out evil spirits, and aiding spiritual practitioners into a desired trance. However, there are other practical uses for incense. Let´s discuss some uses of incense today.
Among practical uses we have:
- To eliminate or obscure other pungent and undesirable odors. This property led to the usage of it during funerals to smother the decay smell.
- For time measuring in incense clocks. This requires a knowledge of the burning rate of a trail or stick or incense, which is then used to measure the amount of time elapsed.
- Some citronella incense is used for burning and repelling mosquitoes and other insects.
- Incense is applied to churches whenever this is going to be crowded due to a special religious event. This is done to mask the odors from pilgrims coming from the country.
- On some occasions, incense is used by indoor smokers to eliminate the unwanted cigarette smell.
Incense has found a widely-spread use for religious purposes:
- Christianity considers the fumes of burning incense a representation of the prayers of the faithful rising to the heavens. Therefore, in most denominations, its use is mandatory.
- As a part of purification rituals.
- During spell or rituals, incense is usually burnt to help the practitioner achieve a state of clarity and focus.
- To repel unwanted entities from a room or to attract desirable ones.
- During and after an exorcism, incense is burned to purify the place from any remains of evil spirits.
- Hindus use incense on their daily rituals offered to Krishna and Rama.
There are also aesthetical uses for incense. Some people simply burn it for its relaxing smell without assigning any mystic or religious significance.