Essential Oils and Incense

For thousands of years, aromatic oils, gums, and resins have been used for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes, as well as in sacred rituals. Ancient Chinese and Indian texts describe the therapeutic, philosophical, and spiritual properties of aromatics. The Bible discusses special oils for anointing and healing; aromatics were so highly prized that the Three Wise Men gave them to Jesus at his birth. The Egyptians employed scent in all areas of life, from seduction to embalming.

Scents affect the limbic system, the portion of the brain associated with memory, emotions, and sexuality, which is why certain smells reawaken memories or stimulate the libido. A whiff of a certain perfume, of sea air, of fresh-baked apple pie and, presto, a panoply of memories unfolds. Because aromas immediately trigger moods, impressions, and associations, they can be assets in spells and rituals.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracted from plants instead of being concocted from synthetic substances, as is the case with most modern perfumes. From the perspective of magic, essential oils are preferable to other scents because they contain the life energy of herbs and flowers.

Magicians use essential oils in myriad ways. Dressing candles is a popular practice. To dress a candle, choose an oil that relates to your intention. Pour a little oil in your palm and rub it over the waxy surface to add the properties of the scent to the candle. When the candle burns, the essence is released into the atmosphere to help manifest your intent. If you choose to make your own candles, you can incorporate essential oils into the mix.

Some essential oils can irritate skin or cause allergic reactions. A few oils are toxic. Research the oils you want to use before applying them to your skin or adding them to a ritual bath. Don't ingest them!

Essential oils can also heighten the power of an amulet or talisman. Rub a little oil onto the charm or put a drop on a piece of paper and place it inside the charm. Magicians sometimes anoint their tools with essential oils to charge them. Of course, wearing fragrant oils is probably the most common way to enjoy them. You can even draw symbols on your body with essential oils to provide protection or to attract desired energies.


In Latin, incense means “to make sacred.” For centuries, churches and temples have used incense to clear the air and to send prayers to the deities. In Buddhist belief, burning an offering of incense invokes the Buddha into a statue of the holy being. The best incense is made from pure gums and resins, without synthetic binders.

Incense is often used to purify sacred space. Sage is the most frequently used herb for this purpose, but you can burn pine, frankincense, or eucalyptus if you prefer. Before performing a spell or ritual, a magician may cast a protective circle by lighting a stick of incense and walking around the area in a clockwise direction, allowing the smoke to mark the space. You can also charge charms with incense by holding the amulet or talisman in the smoke for a few moments.

Essential Oils and Their Magical Properties


Meditation, purification


Vitality, energy booster




Protection, harmony


Love spells, prophetic dreams


Money spells


Prosperity, courage, protection


Career success, wealth, vitality


Healing, prosperity, increased sexual desire


Healing, purification


Prosperity, protection, psychic awareness


Mental clarity, communication


Love spells, passion, to sweeten any situation


Relaxation, peace of mind, healing, purification


Money spells


Love spells, vitality, to stimulate drive or desire


Love spells, protection, career success


Purification, protection, strength


Love spells, to lift spirits




Cleansing, wisdom


Connection to the higher realms, knowledge, safe travel


Money spells, fertility


Aphrodisiac, love spells, to heighten passion or feminine power

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