Friday, June 17, 2011

Letter-writing ritual: incense

Incense & candle

I know a lot of us have letter-writing rituals: one of mine is incense. I might write a quick postcard without lighting a candle and incense, but a letter always gets my favorite olfactory/atmospheric assistance. When I settle in to a long evening of letter writing (evening is my favorite time to write letters), I'll go through many different sticks, cones, logs, bricks, or what have you. Generally I light the candle first, and then light subsequent "flavors" of incense from the candle throughout the day or evening.

My favorite incense

Here are some of my very favorite kinds of incense. I guess this selection illustrates how much I favor spicy, woody scents; the floral, fruity, sweet ones are not for me. Clockwise from top left, my favorites are Piñon by Incense of the West, Paine's Red Cedar, Morning Star Cedarwood, Shokeido Magnificents Jewel Series: Sapphire/Devotion, and Nippon Kodo Kayuragi Aloeswood. The latter is the one that may be my very favorite, but it is a night-time scent... I will only light in in deep evening or dark, and often accompanies my last letter(s) of the night.

This is Paine's red cedar, which I've got burning right now.
I've explained to a lot of folks who ask if I write in cafes and the like: nope. I'm a homebody. I almost always write at home. Having my arsenal of pens, papers, and favorite incense at my disposal is all part of the full experience.

Do you burn candles or incense when you write letters? Do you have any favored rituals?