Keeping with the devotional theme this blog is shaping up to be, I was moved to share one of the practices I hold most dear in regards to devotion : the crafting of the consumable items for the keeping of the shrines. Most specifically, the incenses, the candles, the perfumes used on the altars and Icons in worship and ritual.
This is the crossroads of my practice where witchcraft, wortcunning, pharmakeia and devotional practices conjoin and it's very enjoyable to transit that little liminal space and experiment with resin blends, different plant spirits and spices to craft something that is suited to only you and your original path.
This work vision has allowed us to weave a bridge between our pre-formed practices from across the sea and this sacred land.
In the Sanctuary of Hekate Propylaia we strive to form alliances and a meaningfull relationship with the sacred territory we inhabit. In crafting our blends we honour the earth, the genius loci and Hekate when we use the local beeswax from the traditional beekeepers, the plants we grow ourselves or that we can ethically source and forage as much as possible on this gorgeous tiny little volcanic island that has adopted us.
Aside from all this, the creation of our own ritual consummables can be seen as a devotional and meditative practice in itself, since it would be created in a sacred space in a ritual setting.
A handmade gift that you have put into so much work, dedication and care will always carry a special meaning for the person receiving, just by the act of being made specially for them.
I recently gifted a dear friend that came to visit a bit of my crafted incense and Florida Water (recipe to come!) and it really feels like giving a tiny part of your flame to someone else. Ideally, this is the same kind of relationship we would like to have with Hekate and the deathless Gods themselves, so the little extra effort is always very welcomed and high regarded in your worshipping.
Here I share with you the creation of the Incense for the Sanctuary's winter rites.
We start by lighing the Fire in the altar and singing the Orphic hymn to Hekate to ask her to bless our work to begin and we pour a little libation of milk, honey, water or sweet red wine.
We call upon the plant spirits and the Genius Loci to aid and bless our work as well and pour a libation for them as well.
We gather our plants, in this case we had canarian pine resin and canarian mugwort (artemisia canariensis) I ethically foraged, copal resin, frankincense, lavender, rosemary, sage and roses from our own plants, sarrapia (tonka bean) I brought from Venezuela with me, saffron, orange peels and local honey.
We blessed the mortar and pestle with Palo santo (also brought when I moved, much easier to locally and ethically source on those parts of the world, but there are some sources to get it this way on this part of the ocean as well)
Then we mixed the ingredients in the mortar carefully, first the resins giving them a little smash to get them to know each other, then the herbs and the sarrapia spice. I like to rub them in my hands while thanking them to get them to "wake up" and release their aromas and oils.
We add a tiny little bit of honey to bind everyone together and set it in a jar to let it marinate for one week before using it.
After this I like to thank all of the spirits again and pour a small libation to close the ritual crafting.
I hope this would inspire you to create your own blends, and experiment with it. We usually make a few different ones depending on seasons and needs (for example we have one oracular mix with 3 kinds of mugwor that we use for those kind of rituals)
I wish you all a very blessed and wonderful New year!.