Incense has been used for centuries in many spiritual places.

I wanted to know what the purpose of it was for?

I can guess answers may include, "to change the energy of a room" or something similar. If that is the case, why is that?

Is it of worth burning (a particular kind of) incense? Or is it just an old fashion way of making the room smell nice?

asked 27 Apr '13, 06:03

Nikulas's gravatar image



Good question Nikulas. I burn sage to remove negative energies from people & from my home. Personally, I love sandalwood & it does change the energy in the room. Hope to read some great answers here. I'm sure someone will be able to explain the 'why'.

(27 Apr '13, 06:12) ele

@ele- My family is burning sandalwood right now, and it caused me to wonder if it could be beneficial in any sort of way. Yes, I am awaiting the presents of answers.

(27 Apr '13, 06:14) Nikulas

@Nikulas if you love sandalwood, try essential oils. It's my fav also in the oils. I checked a book out from the library recently that I checked out several years ago - it still smelled like sandalwood oil or me. Put a smidgen under your nose or a drop on your forehead (third eye) before you go to bed - it's to heighten your intuition & dreams..

(27 Apr '13, 06:37) ele
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There is merit in just about every practice you can find, the question is simply what merit and if it works for you.

Pretty much any practice such as burning incense, meditating, listening to music, using crystals, or even 'mundane' practices like exercising are just ways of 'tricking' ourselves into the state of mind we're looking for.

If you approach something like burning incense with the mindset that it will calm and relax you, empower you, or whatever else, then it will. If you approach something with a closed mind and the thought it wont work, there's a decent chance it wont.

Theoretically if we could simply 'believe' ourselves straight into whatever we were trying to accomplish then all of these practices would become recreational only. I imagine this is where you get Yogis / Buddhas / other varieties of 'Enlightened' who are able to perform 'miracles' which seem 'impossible' to those who lack the same belief in their own abilities, even though ultimately we are all capable of performing miracles.


answered 27 Apr '13, 14:03

Snow's gravatar image


great and wonderful answer!!

(30 Apr '13, 14:33) abrahamloa

It is simply plesent to our olfactory sense. This plesent fragrance puts us in a better mood. More relaxed and at ease, this helps us to be more focused.

Each smell has a quality to it that we tune into. For example if you burn cinnamon and your Grandmother used to make cinnamon flop cake for Martin Luther King day. You will feel a sense of that holiday.

To feel closer to Jesus would be merr, since that was one of the three gifts that the three magi gave to baby Jesus.

Sandal wood has this quality, Nagchumpa is more a Tibetian feel.

Sage is more American Indian. Sage has a clearing away negative quality.

I think an influence on a sense influences the rest of the body and brain.

Airfreshener should do the same. I never tried meditating in a room freshly sprayed by pinesol though.


answered 27 Apr '13, 10:24

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi


@Wade I believe you are referring to frankincense & myrrh. I like these scents in oils; but when they are burned, they remind me of feelings of being choked, suffocated & having my breath taken away. Incense is also burned to reach a higher state of consciousness, connect us with our spiritual side & even alter our reality. I've noticed spiritualists & psychics are burning candles instead of incense & not sure why - thankfully, no air fresheners - lol!

(27 Apr '13, 22:10) ele

Haha @ Wade - it's said the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. They say you can attract a man with the scent of cinnamon or an apple pie. Jai sure got off easy - all she had to do is put your name in the box - you could have been eating apple pie! haha

(27 Apr '13, 22:10) ele

@ele Yes Frankincense and Myrrh, you are right! :-) Apple pie, now that sounds good even better than cinnamon flop cake, and I love both. :-)

Jai said, why did you pick Martin Luther King day? I said I was just picking a random holiday and that is a holiday. So I picked it, roll of the dice type thing, I could have said Presidents day or Christopher Columbus day, Easter, Arbor day, Christmas any holiday. LOL

(30 Apr '13, 13:34) Wade Casaldi
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Yes just as our thoughts create specific vibrations so incense does too. It is widely used in metaphysical work to bring about a change in consciousness.

Here's a link giving the most usual perfumes;

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answered 27 Apr '13, 06:33

ru%20bis's gravatar image

ru bis

Thanks for the link & refreshing my memory - exactly - "change in consciousness." Perhaps if I slept more I would remember more. lol! Got to go back to using oils at bedtime... going to do that now. Hope I was right about awakening the 3rd eye.. or I could have just loved the scent.. Thanks for the informative link.

(27 Apr '13, 06:55) ele

I was taught that a pleasing incense carried one's prayers and good intentions further, by attaching to the smoke and diffusing the prayers into the atmosphere (and all the way to heaven)

Back when I had a private meditation room, I used a rose/lavendar combination during my prayer and meditation time. It was so sweet smelling and seemed to make my time very pleasant and relaxing. It would seem to change my mood instantly and it did carry my good intentions all through the room.

Now that the kids are grown and gone, and we are getting older, we have a smaller home and there is no room for a dedicated meditation room, so I just use the corner or my bedroom now. I now use cedar and sweetgrass to cleanse the area before and during my meditation and prayers since the dogs come into my bedroom and my husband wears his shoes in there sometimes. I like the area to feel holy and clean. These scents help with that immensely!

I recommend you experiment with different scents. See if you feel better, and if so, which scents are the most pleasant to you. We are all different, and different scents will give you different results.

Best Wishes!


answered 27 Apr '13, 12:42

LeeAnn%201's gravatar image

LeeAnn 1

I also burn cedar leaves & it is a good air purifier. I assume you mean the actual herb & not incense sticks. The main reason I burn cedar is to attract good energy. Native Americans believe if you place cedar leaves in your shoes, only goodness will come your way. I often do this with the intention of goodness coming my way with every step I take. It works for me & good vibes attract good vibes from others - LOA. Cedar is plentiful in my area & my NA cousins who live in cities or states

(27 Apr '13, 22:22) ele

...states.... where Cedar in not native always ask me to send them a box for their BD's & I do. "incense carried one's prayers and good intentions further, by attaching to the smoke and diffusing the prayers into the atmosphere (and all the way to heaven)" Yes, prayers rising to heaven - smoke connecting earth & the spiritual realms; both a religious belief & an act of purification; a former ritual in the Catholic church as well as nearly every religion.

(27 Apr '13, 22:25) ele

You are right, Ele, it is not incense sticks that I use (although those are OK, many are loaded with chemicals and glues). The sweet grass comes in long bundle, and the cedar comes in chips. I get these from a Native American on-line store or in person if I am in the area. I hadn't heard about the in-the-shoes tradition, but that is so nice!

(28 Apr '13, 09:13) LeeAnn 1
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Evil spirits can be driven out by sage. It is the only herb I know of that does this. In a pinch, sandalwood can also have an effect on evil but sage is the big gun of the Spirit World.

Wade and I have cleared houses with a combination of commands based on James 4:7, sage and faith. I am surprised he did not mention this in his posting, We regularly get calls to clear homes of evil spirits- ghosts, especially.

Burning herbs to create a specific atmosphere comes from the American Indians. The essence of the flower or herb helps create the atmosphere that is needed to heal or help the shaman create the mood necessary to heal. This is not something to be taken lightly. Our olfactory sense is our oldest sense, and has roots that go back millions of years. We could smell before we could see.

Be sure to research what you burn. I, for one, cannot stand the smell of mints burning. I do not know why, but it triggers migraines. I would guess it is an allergy. This is a subject that I could write reams about.

Be careful!



answered 27 Apr '13, 16:05

Jaianniah's gravatar image


edited 27 Apr '13, 16:48

@Jai & @ LeeAnn I think of sage, cedar & sweetgrass along with tobacco as sacred herbs. I've never thought of these herbs as incense before. Cedar represents courage, endurance & most of all survival - sounds like your herb, Jai; plus it attracts good energy. Our olfactory sense is our oldest sense," absolutely Jai; it is part of our reptilian brain - primitive, primal - possibly making it our primary sense. Good advice on researching what you burn - I suggest smelling the oil first.

(27 Apr '13, 22:28) ele

the merit is only in the intention you put forth. and in conditioning it.

Burning incense creates a different smell. So like any other anchoring technique including meditation, or other tools you use its all about intensity of yoru intention thats going to work. Thats why someone who does not believe and calls it non sense - for them it will be nonsense.

But there are certain tools you want to use to anchor yourself to positive feelings and empowering states.

Just like meditation where you put intention that doing it you are connecting to Higher Self and that guides you and Universe works that way. And believing in it turns out true. Same with incense. When you create a sacred time it helps you ground yourself into that same state. Rituals are important to ground yourself into the same state again and again.

So that when you have a bad day but when you back at home and you light your incense immmediately you take yourself into that empowering state again. By doing it repeatedly you mentally in just a snap of your fingers get into that powerful state whatever you stated for yourself.

try different methods to condition your mind and then REALLY REALLY USE THEM - the ones you liked. They are powerful. They are powerful becuase normally in us there are ebbs and flows of our emotions. Sometimes we feel really inspired and passionate and peaceful. BUt in few days as we get busy in life there is a lull. and your emotion wise you are a little less energetic etc. Rituals established condition you to maintain that kind of empowered state. So it create a constant atmosphere. So even when there is a lull when you do the ritual you snap back to that powerful state again since your body, mind etc has that memory of burning incense (or meditations or whatever ritual you do).


answered 06 Nov '13, 18:12

abrahamloa's gravatar image


edited 06 Nov '13, 18:14

It lifts the mood psychologically and gives the sense of clearing. This is helpful when the person(s) are having trouble holding a positive intention in their mind, so as to create a connection to the heart, where you experience true alignment with God/Higher Self. Eventually rituals, crystals, incense all these will become not needed as the person(s) will be able to hold their own inner peaceful intentions without these training wheels. In the meantime if it helps, do it until you can ride it out on your own. Be well and know that you are safe and loved.


answered 28 Apr '13, 09:18

teeleec's gravatar image


Thanks for the post, ..{now to the feast!!} I was just talking to a couple older guys in my neighborhood. One stated incense will ward off evil...I hummed and pondered.... Then he said, "I light incense then someone will complain that they are having bodily pain." He said he replies to them, "that's incense working on yo ###!! Yea, keep yo ### out my ####." Well the other guy agrees with the first and shares a similar experience.

I hummed again and pondered ;;;;; {thinking to myself} I remember watching National Geographic and the tribes in the woods always dancing and chanting while burning incense. Humming and pondering,? {what is peace} because what these two gentlemen described was obtaining peace in so many words. Everyone has their thing {like a comfort blanket} that they feel safe next to / or with. I believe in the Holy Trinity, but I smoke. If you are living unto God who is to say what is right or wrong..


answered 30 Apr '13, 13:11

Popi%20Bearcat%20Gibson's gravatar image

Popi Bearcat Gibson

edited 06 Nov '13, 15:16

IQ%20Moderator's gravatar image

IQ Moderator ♦♦

A priest or pastor was talking like this? Or you were talking like this to a priest or pastor?

Either way such language is inconsiderate and disrespectful.

(30 Apr '13, 13:18) Wade Casaldi

. #### you , I'm intitled to say what ever the #### I want to say...BEFORE THERE WAS A CONSTIUTION AND A 2ND AMENDMENT, JUST LIKE YOU KNEW YOU HAD TO EAT BEFORE RALLYS TOLD YOU ON TV. narrow minded people are some of the weirdest people

(30 Apr '13, 13:43) Popi Bearcat Gibson

Okay I guess you're in a bad mood today.

I'll pray for you, something is upsetting you. Trust God, it will work out. Blessings in Jesus name.

(30 Apr '13, 13:51) Wade Casaldi

It took a bit to follow but if I am getting the intended message here then it makes sense.

It seems like he is trying to say what makes one happy will bring discomfort to another, and everyone has their own source of peace or comfort. Also he believes in the Trinity but smokes anyway but as long as you're living for God then who is to say anything about the rest.

I only think curse words are an issue if they're said with negative intent in mind, but this is true of all we say and do.

(30 Apr '13, 20:36) Snow

@ wade nothing is wrong with me . You say a priest or pastor was talking like this or was it me talking to them... coming at me like a joke , you said nothing valid only critising me for saying my peace. Anyone can talk #### , then say I was being inconsiderate and disrespectful!!! naaaa .I gave my thoughts. Share what your views were on hearing what the pastor and priest said, hell share a view period. I comment from my heart , wether I curse or not.

(01 May '13, 10:16) Popi Bearcat Gibson

I only think people are small minded if they are trying to please people. I grew up taught that its not what you say but how you say it. Speak your peace , but dont jump on my back like I'ma lame or don't understand what I read.I dont agree with most of the #### I see on inward quest, but I LOVE EVERYONE FOR SHARING THERE VIEWS.

(01 May '13, 10:24) Popi Bearcat Gibson

I wasn't sure if the pastor was saying those to you or you to the pastor. It doesn't matter for me anymore. Clarity was primarily the aim.

(01 May '13, 11:14) Wade Casaldi

@Wade Casaldi You are truly magnanimous! "In every person’s journey you will face people who test your ability to remain magnanimous. Throughout the various stages of the “Monomyth” on the hero’s journey negative people will appear to test you. If you are able to maintain equanimity and not become reactive you will proceed to a higher place in your life. If you succumb to their negativity by becoming negative too, they win. And you lose." ~ Joseph Campbell (The Power of the Myth)

(23 Jun '13, 05:28) ele
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