So many of us use incense in our homes and in ritual. There is something wonderful about watching a piece of resin bubbling away on a piece of charcoal and the room slowly filling with fragrant smoke.
The majority of our resins, gums and woods that we use in our incense blends are sourced from all over world. If you work with the local land or simply want to save some money you with want to try your hand at Wildcrafting.
Wildcrafting is the practice of getting out into your local forest, bush land, parks and gardens or even your own backyard and foraging for plants and herbs that have a practical use. With the goal of incense in mind you will be after plant resins.
Resins are produced by trees to help cover their wounds. Some of these resins release fragrant smoke when heated.
Tips for collecting Resin:
- We never want to harm a tree with our collecting so look for mature trees where the resin has become firm if it is still sticky and wet you want to avoid collecting the resin.
- Resin come in various colours, from white to amber to dark reds and browns. Look carefully over the tree. Older resin is often very difficult to spot.
- A small knife (we use a butter knife) is a really simple tool for loosening the resin off the trunk.
There are so many trees that produce fragrant resins in Australia – you really are spoiled for choice! European trees in Australia are a good starting place: Pine and Cypress are especially fragrant. You could also spend years collecting resins from the large range of abundant Eucalypts.
Wildcrafing incense is fun and free, and it’s a great activity you can do with a few friends. Get out there and start collecting!
This article originally appeared in our old newsletter, Spokes of the Wheel (volume 3 issue 2, Mabon 2016). Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Hawthorn bushes are fit to bursting at this time of year! Dean found this cracking Haw Jelly recipe here.
You will need:
- Hawthorn berries (haws)*
- Juice of one lemon
- Remove all stalks and leaves. If you roll a handful (stalks and all) between your hands, the haws should come away easily.
- Wash and drain haws. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for one hour, mashing every twenty minutes or so with a potato masher.
- Strain the mixture through some muslin overnight. Do not squeeze the bag, just let it drain naturally.
- In the morning, for every 700ml of liquid you have, measure out 500g sugar.
- Stir the sugar and the juice of one lemon into the mixture. Bring to the boil.
- Rapid boil for 10 minutes until the jelly has reached its setting point.
- Skim foam off the top of the mixture, and pour into warm, sterilised jars.
*700 grams of haws = 1 jar of Haw Jelly