Magical Incense

incense copy

Did you know that incense sends your prayers to heaven?

SPIRIT begins with prayer and what better way to speed up that communication than by lighting incense. SMOKE is the vehicle that dispatches your wishes and dreams to the universe. Incense is a powerful tool dating back 6000 to 8500 years. The trend took off spreading to Greece and Rome when Babylonians wafted incense sticks during prayer. What you need to know is that true pratitioners of magic use only powdered incense for magic – other types just smell good.

Here’s my guide:

  • Sandalwood – Real Indian sandalwood is pure magic. It vibrates with Ganesh to remove obstacles, bless new beginnings, and attract prosperity.
  • Dragon’s Blood – Dragon’s aren’t real, silly. This plant resin is a powerful remover of negative energy.
  • Francinsense – Another plant resin used in churches to create a sacred space.
  • Sage – American Indian tool to protect against evil. Use with caution because it clears the energetic slate but then you have to add positive energy back with other incense.
  • Nag Champa – A masala incense that makes your home smell hippie dippie.
  • Vanilla – The sex bean of a plant that stimulates sensual energy

What’s your favorite type of incense?

How To Create a Ganesh Shrine

New Year. New beginnings. New projects. It’s time to get your new-new on (see Ray J’s video where he talks about new-new) and Ganesh is the elephant-headed Hindu god of prosperity that removes obstacles for success. When in India, all ceremonies and prayers begin with Ganesh. He is a protector and good to take on trips. Also a prankster who needs to be kept happy with his very own shrine. Feel the power when you activate your Ganesh shrine at the beginning of a business day to attract abundance or to bless new ventures. Here’s what you’ll need:
1. Ganesh statue
2. small dish of uncooked rice
3. Ganesh Magical Candle
4. sandalwood incense
5. yellow flowers

recite Ganesh Mantra:
Om gam ganapataye namaha

Pronounciation:
Om = ohm or aum
Gam = somwhere between “gahm” and “gum”
Ganapataye – gah.nah.paht.ah.yeh
Namaha = nah.mah.hah

What other magical and meaningful items could you add to your Ganesh shrine?

Lucky Charms

Lucky Charms

Lucky Charms in Bangkok, Thailand photographed by Anita Rosenberg

Lucky charms are not just a magically delicious breakfast cereal, they are serious talismans worn for protection and good luck. You can hang them on your lucky bamboo or from your rearview mirror. Each amulet reflects a person’s individual beliefs, values, and superstitions. Asia and India are famous for their elaborately decorated vehicles where lucky totems are the focal point. More is more, but they should always be placed in a high position in order to be honored. In Dale Konstanz’s book Thai Taxi Talismans, he explains that cabbies remove amulets from their necks and hang them from their rearview mirror while saying a prayer. They protect the car and passengers during their shift. At the end of the day, the drivers then put the amulets back on as they say another invocation. On the streets of Bangkok men trade amulets, however you cannot own a magical talisman you can only “rent” them. Each person is a temporary custodian of its magic. Traveling is the perfect time to collect your own charms and danglies and of course you can “own” them. After climbing the Giant Buddha during a monsoon storm on Lantau Island to get a photograph (I got an amazing one BTW) I picked up a glass Buddha charm in the gift shop to hang on my rearview mirror. It reminds me of my fantastic adventure. My prayer charm came from Man Mo Temple and not only protects but takes me back to the temple chimes and wafts of steaming dim sum from my first visit to Hong Kong.

Have you brought home a charm for your car and where did you get it?

Incense & Fortune Telling

Fortune Telling at Wong Tai Sin Temple with Mable

Consulting sticks (kau cim) with numbers tipped out of a bamboo cup is a popular way of looking into the future. My friend, Mable, taught me how to consort with the spirits at Wong Tai Sin Temple (1921) in Kowloon. Dedicated to the gods of gamblers, this is where we purchased a handful of yellow incense sticks to light in the burner during a monsoon storm while juggling the umbrella. Next we knelt at the main altar while holding our can of fortune telling sticks. Tossing sticks is tricky. You shake the cup while asking the cosmos your personal questions. The stick that magically pops out (it truly does) holds the answer. On it is a number. This number means nothing until you take it outside to fortune teller row. The soothsayer interprets the fortune. Since you are in China you must hire someone to translate. Entrusting you most important life dilemmas to someone else’s explanation is dicey. I recommend you ask only one question. If you ask three like I did you end up paying a lot.

What is your most memorable fortune telling story and where were you?