Mind-altering drugs. When I hear that phrase, I immediately think of the 1960′s, as do many other people in America. However, the use of mind-altering drugs can be traced much farther back, as I’m sure you learned from the above documentary. They were originally used by ancient man in religious ceremonies. Although mind-altering drugs are a lot of fun to take recreationally, the main focus of this new series will be to explore easily gotten, relatively legal, substances that can be used in group or solitary ritual. Most of the substances that will be discussed can best be described as good old-fashioned gateway drugs. Most of them won’t leave you so inebriated that you can’t drive home from ritual, but they’ll work well enough to remove the inhibitions that may be keeping you from directly interacting with your deities in a ritual. That, in nutshell, is the whole reason why people started taking mind-altering substances.
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
Frankincense is a tree resin from the genus Boswellia.
When sold in its resin from (often called “tears”), it’s a white to yellow color.
It’s also sold as a powder, oil, and in incense sticks and cones. It’s an ancient substance of Middle Eastern origin. It has been used for healing and embalming. It’s what often fills the censers at a Catholic church service.
Magically, frankincense is used for protection, cleansing, meditation, and purification. Evidently, the boswellia trees are in some trouble. So, buy your frankincense while you can! http://econews.com.au/news-to-sustain-our-world/wise-men-warn-frankincense-trees-in-decline/
I had never really considered using frankincense as a mind altering substance until I was up very late one night chugging spiked coffee working on some Pagan project. I had the History Channel or its sister station (I don’t really remember) on as back ground noise. I really wasn’t paying attention to the noise until a cool show came on about how the Ancients used different chemicals in ritual and every day life. Unfortunately, it’s not the show at the beginning of the entry. Dr. Weil is not anywhere near as dynamic a host as this show’s host had been. If I find a link to the correct show, I’ll post it. Anyway, besides the normal stuff about magic mushrooms, tobacco, and different cousins of peyote, the show discussed how supposedly the Ancient Greeks would hotbox frankincense before making important political decisions.
At first, I laughed out loud about this. It sounded like something the really lame kids did in Middle School because they didn’t have any High School connections. When my partner came into the room to ask if I was planning on coming to bed sometime in the next couple of days, I shared the frankincense information. Instead of laughing with me, he thought it made perfect sense. “That’s probably why everyone claimed to have such deep religious experiences at the ritual I conducted last year. The only incense I used was frankincense, and I used a lot of it.” It was true.
The ritual was conducted outside, but my partner used a huge cauldron full of hot charcoal and frankincense as a censer. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that the people who reported, in some cases life-altering, religious experiences were the ones who got blasted for several minutes by the frankincense smoke when the wind shifted in their direction. As it turned out, the Greeks were on to something.
Hotboxing frankincense is a very easy way to start exploring the use of mind altering substances in ritual. Chances are that you already have frankincense in your magical supplies. The term “hotboxing” (for those that don’t know) refers to smoking a substance in an enclosed area, like a car or bathroom. Hotboxing shouldn’t be done by people with allergies, asthma, or other breathing, lung, or respiratory/sinus ailments. For using frankincense in this manner in ritual, you need a space where the ventilation can be adjusted. The ancient Greeks used a closet, but I wouldn’t suggest that. I would suggest a small room with a window or a fan.
Before ritual, light a large amount of frankincense (I prefer the resin on charcoal) in a fire safe container (which is what your censer should be). Leave it burning in the closed area for a few minutes while you finish other preparations in a different room. When you enter, the room should be smokey. Close the door and inhale. After three minutes, open a window a small amount or turn a fan on low. This is so that the smoke still stays in the room, but fresh air is introduced or at least the air remaining in the room is circulated. If you don’t introduce some fresh air or air circulation, asphyxiation will occur, which will lead to a close encounter with your deities of a different kind. Now conduct ritual as you normally would. After your ritual is over, open the window wide or turn the fan on high to clear the room of smoke. FYI, beware of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors when using frankincense in this manner.
Hotboxing frankincense is a very gentle and relatively safe way to start exploring legal, mind altering substances. It’s not going to make you high or cause hallucinations, but your brain will react to the frankincense. Just be aware, and reflect on the ritual later to see what how this ritual differed from well ventilated rituals.
Hotbox these folks:
Erotic Sensations http://eroticsensations.us/
Quadrivium Supplies http://www.quadrivium-supplies.com
Tonia Brown www.thebackseatwriter.com
Chris Eagle Music http://chriseaglemusic.weebly.com/