Frankincense is an aromatic resin from any of the four main species of deciduous trees in the Boswellia genus. They come in the form of small bushes and trees of moderate size with compound leaves and grow in a wide variety of environments, though the most aromatic varieties come from more arid regions. The flowers are yellowish-white with five petals. The resin comes from cuts in the tree which allow the sap to bubble out and harden . This is done when they are about 8 to 10 years of age. It has been a valuable trade item for thousands of years and used in rituals for just as long.
Folk Names: Olibanum, Olibanus, Olibans
Planet: The Sun
Deities: Ra, Baal
Frankincense is often added to other magical mixtures in order to increase their potency due to the powerful vibrations of energy that are released from it when it is burned. These intense energies drive away negative energies and evil so it has been used throughout the ages for purification and exorcism. With this in mind we can see that it also an excellent choice for preventative measures such as that of protection. The strong vibrations produced by frankincense make it an excellent choice in meditation incenses and also in mixtures used to promote spiritual growth as well as to induce visions.
The resin has long been used in the Ayurvedic medicine of India and the bark has been used in Africa to treat fever, gastrointestinal distress and rheumatism. Studies are currently under way to test the resin, and its chemical derivatives, for treating chronic inflammatory diseases and one study claims the incense may work similarly to a psychoactive drug to reduce depression and anxiety, a correlation to its magical uses that cannot be easily ignored.
The resin was once burned as an offering to the sun god Ra in ancient Egypt on a daily basis at sunrise. As many people know, this was one of two magical resins presented to Jesus in the story of his birth by the Magi or “wise men”, who were traditionally wizards from the east. It has also been in use by the Catholic church as an incense, probably for this reason. It is also used in the Jewish tradition. Its appearance in these stories, and its current use by the church, is obviously influenced by its extensive use for thousands of years before they were written.
Until next month, blessed be!