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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Incense

Certain resins, usually in granular form, which, when burnt, generate a fragrant or sometimes pungent smoke. The incense is usually sprinkled on lighted charcoal contained in a censer or thurible (a metal vase with a cover having numerous holes). It is also used in the form of sticks popularly called “Joss Sticks.”

The use of incense has a long history and widespread use in many religions. In ancient Egypt it was used in the rituals of the worship of Amon-Re and in mortuary rites. In India it has been used for centuries for both religious and domestic offerings. In Greece incense was used, particularly by the Orphics, from about the 8th century BCE for protection against demons. It is extensively used in Buddhist rituals, particularly by Tibetans.

Charles LEADBEATER states that incense has a dual significance; it ascends before God as a symbol of prayer and spreads throughout the environment as the, “sweet savor of the blessing of God” (The Hidden Side of Things, p. 191).

 

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