This blog post is a little something different: an excerpt from the spring edition of Botanical Anthology!
This plant centered digital publication is packed with seasonal crafts, recipes, foraging tips, articles, & more. Click here to learn more about the digital edition, or click here to check out the print edition.
Carrie Tuttle is an environmental educator, mom, and poet. She has been weaving magic into her home via kitchen and garden witchery for 30 years. She lives in Wyoming with her family, pets, and gardens.
Fires of Beltane Loose Floral Incense
By Carrie Tuttle
Beltane is a glorious celebration of fire. Translated roughly as bright fire, the day falls at the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Here we find a day associated with bonfires, feasting, and the fertility of the land beneath our feet. Beltane, or Mayday, is awash with flowers. In Gaelic lands, and in modern Paganism, it is celebrated with a flower wreathed Maypole, floral wreaths for the May Queen and celebrants, as well as decorating homes and sacred places and spaces with spring florals.
For many this is a time of year when spring begins its raucous state of growth; a riot of flowers, lengthening days, and getting our gardens underway. One practice to honor this day, and its connection to fire and growth, is through the crafting of ritual incense. The use of incense is common in ritual and dates back thousands of years to ancient Mesopotamia, where the burning of herbs and resins facilitated sacred communication with the gods. In addition, it is believed that the healing elements of herbs can be transferred through their burning as well, leading many to blend their own healing incense.
Using a loose incense allows the crafter to use dried flowers and herbs in their whole form, without having to pulverize, mix and add a binder; required in the blending of stick and cone incense. It is a simple and quick way to craft incense, and involves only the herbs and a source of heat, such as a charcoal disc or electric incense burner.
The Beltane incense below was crafted with following herbs for their corresponding symbolism:
Lavender: love, luck, grace, and connection to ones higher self
Apple or crabapple twigs: beauty, health, fertility, and harmony
Rose: romance, passion, rebirth, renewal
Jasmine : sensuality, positivity, connection to the divine
Mugwort: dreams, protection, self-love, magic
You may also add other herbs from your local environment, or from your gardens, as it enhances your connection to the land, and to your personal practice. Just be sure to look into their properties, as you don’t want to burn anything that could be toxic.
Blending these dried herbs together to burn is its own wild alchemy, because as you blend you put your intentions for this fiery holiday into work. You may imagine the correspondences as you blend each herb, or add your own magical intent.
3 tbsp jasmine flower
2 tbsp lavender
2 tbsp mugwort
1 tbsp roses
1 tbsp apple twigs, cut into ½ inch bits
Mix well, place in a jar and label.
Burn over a charcoal disk or in your outdoor Beltane fire of choice.
The batch makes approximately ½ cup of the incense blend.
Increase the batch size to use in a bonfire or to give as gifts.