Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hyssop Incense Recipe - Witchcraft at Home

Hyssop is a great purification herb in hoodoo, it's use having been picked up through Bible magic and kabbalist texts like The Key of Solomon.

The most typical way to use hyssop, other than mixing it into other formulas, is to prepare a bath with it. However, recently I decided I wanted some hyssop incense in order to purify a room. The only manufacturer that I know sells hyssop incense is one I've had a falling out with and so don't buy from anymore, meaning I had to come up with a recipe of my own. I could have used the makko incense recipe I gave in Conjure Cookbook, but I was all out of makko. Ultimately I turned to Scott Cunningham's Complete Book of Incense Oils and Brews. There was no recipe specifically for hyssop incense, but it had the following for making cone incense:
6 parts powdered Sandalwood (or Cedar, Pine, Juniper)
2 parts powdered Benzoin (or Frankincense, Myrrh, etc.)
1 part ground Orris root
6 drops essential oil [sic] (use the oil form of one of the incense ingredients)
3 to 5 parts empowered incense mixture
[not listed: saltpeter, and you also need tragacanth glue made from about 1 tsp powdered tragacanth dissolved in 8 oz water and let to sit till thickened]

This was okay as a starter, but there were some issues with the recipe -- like, how can he know 6 drops of oil is right when the rest of the recipe is in parts? I also never bought into the empowering idea -- the whole point of using herbal ingredients, to me, is that the herbs should have and fulfill the needed energy already. Additional prayers or magic words might be spoken as the incense is actually being used, but it seems needless to do all that while just preparing it. In the end I used a recipe that went about like this:


  • 6 tsp powdered juniper wood
  • 2 tsp powdered benzoin
  • 1 tsp powdered orris root
  • 15 drops rosemary and marjoram oils (I didn't have any hyssop oil, but rosemary is a good replacement for most herbal EOs and marjoram is an herb that historically hyssop has been confused with)
  • 5 tsp powdered hyssop herb
Beat together all these ingredients till well mixed. Weigh and add ten percent saltpeter. Mix well, and then add sufficient tragacanth glue to make the mixture into a moldable paste. Roll into incense cones, and set out on tin foil to dry. This recipe made about a dozen cones.

The juniper wood is the overwhelming odor when burning this incense, but it still contains hyssop as well as several other purifying herbs, and it gets the job done nicely. It's also nice that this incense is ready to go in cone form, instead of being "self-lighting powder" that needs to be formed each time, or the even less convenient loose incense that needs to be burnt over charcoal.

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