Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Make A - Backyard Incense

* Kid Craft - Backyard Incense *
By Aunt Becky

Making things, creating objects from nothing, spending quality time with your children and friends, and just having fun: these are some of the most important things in life. Whether we realize it or not, it makes us who we are. Creation is physical, spiritual, primal, joyful, and relieves stress.

But most of all it's just plain fun!
The kids are running around the house like banshees from the nether world chanting things that make no sense. They have painted themselves, the cat, and the bathroom. The dog is wearing your best ritual robes because "she needs to look pretty for the goddess, too!" And you are sitting in the corner trying to figure out how to explain to anyone who happens to stop by that children really do like being duct-taped to the wall. And no, those aren't gags, they're educational vocal learning devices.
It's definitely time to get out of the house.
If your children are anything like the ones I have in my life, they have been trying to get into your altar box since they could crawl. And when caught, all they'd have to say for themselves was "It smells so good in there," or "I didn't know any better," or "Those things are so pretty!" The more creative (and manipulative) children will come at you with "the pixie in the corner told me I could," or "But I want to be magic, too!" Well, what can you say to that? I say, let them discover that their play can be just as magical as my altar box.
Go out into the back yard. Help them take cuttings of the grass, the roses that are done blooming, and any flowers that might be in the garden. Heck, maybe even throw in a handful of dirt. Depending on the trees you have in your area, maybe some bark, leaves or pinecones can be added to the mixture. Put all this stuff on a screen wrapped loosely in newspaper from your recycling bin. If you have one, put it in a dehydrator, otherwise put it in a warm oven (just heated by the pilot light) or just where it can sit in the sun. Let it dry a couple days until all parts are brittle. Now the really fun part: using a coffee grinder, a mortar and pestle, or even a rock on the sidewalk, let the kids grind all the stuff into a coarse powder.
This should keep them busy for a while.
Note from me***Children have an innate & much stronger "magicalness" than we, as adults do. If your witchlet is so inclined, this is a good opportunity to help them learn to imbue something with the energy they desire. As they are grinding/pounding, have them focus on calmness, or happiness, or whatever energy it is they would like to have the incense release when it is burned. This is a very simple, yet very magical thing, and is an easy beginner's step down the pagan pathway****
This might sound a bit weird to you, and in truth there are some things that just aren't meant to be burned together, but trial and error is the key here. After a few tries and some charcoal you'll find you really have created an incense that smells like home. We had a lot of fun doing this on a camping trip a few summers back. The place we went to was really quite pretty and worth remembering, and when we were done the incense we made smelled just like we were sitting in the middle of the woods. It was like a memory in a jar.
A few things to remember:

  • Don't pick in protected areas
  • Don't pick a flower if there's only one of them -- leave enough to maintain the population
  • Ask permission if you're on private property.
  • If you're not familiar with the plants, don't pick them without looking them up. I don't have to tell you it's a bad idea to pick poison oak for your incense!
  • If you're picking bark from a tree, be sure to only take a little,respectfully, and be careful of damaging the tree.

Have a great time and Blessed Be.
--Aunt Becky (Excerpted from the now-defunct San Diego Pagan; September 17th, 1998)
***Side Note: If you can get this link to work, or if you know where this site is now located, please let me know! This has been in my collection for years, and when I tried the link I so carefully saved, I got a "Server Not Found" Message " 
Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

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