Back in the time of Spirit, Ceremony and Belief, Great Spirit gave to Turtle Island's Indigenous People four sacred plants. These medicines were meant to be used in prayer and for other peaceful purposes. When combined the smoke carried our prayers to Great Spirit. Today, what is often called a 'Sweetgrass Ceremony' opens many gatherings, powwows, meetings, conferences anywhere people are gathered together in a good way. The Native American "Azinwakiya" {Hah-szeen-whah-kee-yah} "Azidya" {Nakota} "Azilya" {Lakota} Right of The Smudge is the action of fanning or pushing the smoke over you to create harmony mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically, for this is the Native American Right that unites our Spirit, Mind, Soul and Body. The "Azinwakiya" has been compared to the use of Holy Water within the Catholic Faith...

To the Native American The "Inyan Natahu" {EEng-yahng Nah-tah-hoo} The Gift of The Ancient Ones, "The Crystal Skulls" are a Sacred Artifact. For These are The Bones of our Mother Earth. And for us to be accepted, By Them (The Crystal Skull), within Their presence, The "Azinwakiya" MUST be accomplished. For our Spirit, Mind, Soul and Body must be as ONE with these Ancient Ones, for The "Inyan Natahu" to show their true power...

The Sacred Plants

For the Native American there are 4 sacred plants used within The "Azinwakiya" {Hah-szeeng-whah-kee-yah} The Right of The Smudge...


The Sacred Items discused below may be obtained from Grand Father's Spirit Store

SWEETGRASS ~ Wacanga {Whah-chahng-gah} ~ the hair of Mother Earth and the power of emotional healing. It literally is sweetgrass and often grows in dark, marshy places. It is braided to signify unity and strength. A single blade of grass represents an aspect of the living world, when separated it can be broken, but when braided it cannot be broken. While in ceremony, our hair is usually braided to signify that we are all one people and that our world vision is one of strong, united, supportive communities. Sweetgrass is a tangible metaphor for a unified world. Our task is to work towards a world community that is in harmony with itself. sweetgrass soothes the emotions, calms the nerves, brings down the heart rate.
Its perfume drops your shoulders and you move into rhythm with Mother Earth.

CEDAR ~ Hantesa {Hahng-tay-sah} ~ the power of physical healing. It's sweet smell and healing properties are used in physical healing. Bathing in a cedar bath or drinking the occasional cup of cedar tea helps to cleanse the internal and external body. Feel its power seep into your pores. Feel the pulse of your heart as your body embraces its own health and wellbeing. Line the floor of a sweatlodge with Cedar so that its sweet smell can imbue those sitting inside. It is refreshing, it invigorates and it heals.

SAGE ~ Pejihota Tanka {Pay-shgee-hoe-tah- Tahng-kah} ~ The power of spiritual healing. As the white sage (salvia apiana) wafts across your body, breathe it into your soul. Let your spirit find its balance with the emotions and the physical body. Feel its power raise your spirits, feel yourself stand taller and stronger. There is an emptiness within your spirit when it is sad, let the sage fill that emptiness with the fullness of Mother Earth's Power and Strength.

TOBACCO - The power of Mental Healing. Ah, the most powerful of all, it gives thanks to Great Spirit and to the Ancestors. Often considered to be the oldest plant on Turtle Island, it was never meant to be smoked for commercial purposes!
There are many different blends that may be used within our sacred practices. It is smoked in sacred pipes and given to The Elders or Traditional Teachers as a Tie (Chanli Waphahta) when requesting assistance or information. Tobacco is sprinkled in thanks to our Mother Earth, or left in a Tie to Great Spirit and to the Ancestors for gracing us with their presence. Tobacco should be held in the left hand, closest to the heart. THEN, Raise your hand, and give Blessings to The Great Spirit. Afterwards, it should be offered to the Seven Directions before being scattered upon our Mother Earth.

Charcoal Tablets - These small 33 mm tablets allow for a slow reverent incineration of resin or other natural incense. Instead of the cauterized burnt smell that results with the direct ignition of the incense. You get the true refreshing smell of the herb and the reverent libation to the spirits that you are attempting to raise. For reverence and humility must be shone to the Plant Nation, The Ancestors and The Great Spirit, if you expect anything to occur. These tablets normally come in a box containing ten rolls of charcoal. Each roll contains ten quick lighting tablets.

Abalone Shells - Often these shells are used for smudging; these big, beautiful, colorful shells. But within my belief and tradition, these shells once contained the spirit of a living being. I was born in the month of March and am of the Frog Clan therefore my heritage is of the seas, oceans, streams and rivers. My respect for all living beings that reside within that Realm is paramount for me. As a result I do not use the shells for they once contained the living spirit of a relative! To burn the bottoms of these shells is to burn that spirit which once lived there, and for me that is tantamount to murder!!

The Catlinite bowl ~ Oskokpa Cannonpa Inyan {Hosh-coke-pah Chahng-noeng-pah EEng-yahng} ~ is my choice for smudging. Why? Because this is the Sacred Stone that was given to us by White Buffalo Calf Woman and the stone represents the buffalo, plus the flesh and blood of the First Nation. The Great White Buffalo represents the universe, the four directions and for each of the four ages of man. The buffalo was put in the west by Wakan Tanka {Whah-kahng Tahng-kah} at the making of the world, to hold back the waters. Every year he loses one hair, and in every one of the four ages he loses a leg. The Sacred Hoop will end when all the hair and legs of the Great White Buffalo are gone, and the water comes back to cover the Earth. Besides being the Sacred Stone, This is what we were told to use by White Buffalo Calf Woman.

The Smudging Fan ~ Sota Icadu {show-tah EE-chah-doo} This beautifully crafted piece of art was designed and created by a Navajo artist who calls this work a "Friendship Feather". His name is Azak {Hah-szahck} and he claims the American Southwest Desert as his spiritual birthplace.
It has been specially created for those for whom it is illegal to own the actual Eagle Fan that is required by their Religious Law. It was assembled utilizing turkey, rooster, peacock and pheasant feathers, thus, no feathers of endangered birds were used. The binding is of The Sacred Buffalo Leather and Sinew which encloses a clear Sacred Quartz Crystal on the end. And as in the Old Custom It measures 3 Spans in length, (approximately 14 inches).

It was the Haudenosaunee {hah-hoo-day-noe-shah-oo-nay} {The Iroquois} who first introduced the idea of Eagle being the Principle Messenger of the Creator. Since then, it is now a universally accepted principle. Eagle flies the closest to Great Mystery and, therefore, can see the past, present and future at a glance. She sees the flow of change. She alerts us to the changes so that we can respond appropriately. Eagle is the great illuminator and soars above us all, sometimes out of sight to us, but never out of sight of The Creator. Eagle sees and hears all and sits in the east on the Medicine Wheel with the Elders and the direction of wisdom and guidance.

In other words, Eagle is connected both to the spirit of the Great Mystery and to Mother Earth and does both with ease. Eagle, therefore, is a powerful symbol of courage; that is why its feathers are such powerful tools for healing, and why there are special ceremonies for Eagle Feathers. Eagle teaches us that it is okay to combine wisdom and courage -- it is okay to be wise enough to know that a change needs to be made in one's life and then finding the courage to execute that change. It is okay to gather our courage, for the universe presents us with numerous opportunities to soar above the mundane. The true test that is life is the power to recognize those opportunities. In other words, Do not be afraid of the unknown or the Shadow that may be Death, But Embrace the wisdom, challenge and trials that come your way with courage and fly above life's difficulties to smell the wind that is Freedom!

But, by Federal and State Laws I am not allowed to possess Eagle Feathers. In the United States, there are a number of Federal and State Wildlife Laws pertaining to Eagles and their Sacred Feathers (ie... The Lacey Act, The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act), however the "Eagle Feather law" in its most common usage refers to Title 50 Part 22 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR 22), the Federal Law governing the use and possession of Eagle (and other migratory bird species) Feathers as religious objects.

While the Eagle Feather Law allows for individuals who are adopted members of federally recognized tribes to obtain Eagle Feathers and Eagle Feather Permits, all applicants for the permits must submit an application to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for religious use of Eagle Feathers and then after initial approval, renew that application annually.
Unfortunately the Isanti Sioux are not one of the federally recognized tribes.

The Constitutionality of the Eagle Feather Law has often been called into question due to the First Amendment (1791) prohibition of laws that affect the establishment or free practice of religion:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
Out of the 500 Native American Nations within the continental United States only 75 are allowed to possess these Religious Items.
For all of the others ~ it is ILLEGAL for us to practice our Religion..

The effects of the Eagle Feather Law on religious freedom have been an ongoing matter of contention in the general Native American community due to the incomplete legal protections within the present law. While legal protections of Eagle possession are afforded members of federally recognized tribes. There are numerous Native Americans who are forbidden from possessing Eagle Feathers because they are members of non-federally recognized tribes or are not Native American by birth or by adoption. The law’s constitutionality has also been subject to extensive criticism on grounds that the law creates racial preferences and racial segregation by denying religious freedom in the use of Eagle Feathers due to an individual’s race or ethnicity.

No one can possess an Eagle Feather for any reason, if they are not born Native American and not one of the federally recognized tribes. For example Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton gained notoriety with National Media recognition and attention when she was given a dream catcher adorned with Eagle Feathers by Clinton supporter Peggy A. Bargon in 1994. An investigation found that Bargon was selling migratory bird feathers and Bargon later pled guilty to the misdemeanor of violating The Lacey Act and The Bald Eagle Protection Act and was fined $1,200 for each Eagle Feather that she had possessed. Clinton’s dream catcher was later turned over to agents from the USFWS by the White House.

Symbolism of the Eagle Feather:

In the beginning, the Great Spirit above gave to the animals and bird’s wisdom and knowledge and the power to talk to men. He sent these creatures to tell man that he showed himself through them.

They would teach a chosen man sacred songs and dance, as well as, much ritual and lore. The creature most loved by the Great Spirit was the eagle, for he tells the story of life. The Eagle, as you know, has only two eggs, and all living things in the world are divided into two. Here is man and woman, male and female and this is true with animals, birds, trees, flowers and so on.

All things have children of two kinds so that life may continue. Man has two eyes, two hands, two feet and he has a body and soul, substance and shadow. Through his eyes, he sees pleasant and unpleasant scenes, through his nostrils he smells good and bad odors, with his ears he hears joyful news and words that make him sad.

His mind is divided between good and evil. His right hand he may often use for evil, such as war or striking a person in anger. But his left hand, which is near his heart, is always full of kindness. His right foot may lead him in the wrong path, but his left foot always leads him the right way, and so it goes; he has daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death.

In order to remember this lesson of life, look to the great eagle, the favorite bird of the Great Spirit. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, part light, and part dark. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death.

So that you may remember what I have told you, look well on the eagle, for his feathers, too, tell the story of life. Look at the feathers I wear upon my hand, the one on the right is large and perfect and is decorated; this represents man. The one on my left is small and plain; this represents woman.

The eagle feather is divided into two parts, dark and white. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter. For the white tells of summer, when all is bright and the dark represents the dark days of winter. My children, remember what I tell you. For it is YOU who will choose the path in life you will follow -- the good way, or the wrong way.

A story by Mota-Ska White Bear Bosch a Lakota Elder and Wise Man

HOW TO SMUDGE:

Place cedar, sage, sweetgrass into a Clay or Catlinite Bowl.
Light it carefully and let the smoke start to rise, it carries your prayers to Great Spirit.
Rub your hands in the smoke to cleanse, purify and sanctify them;
Scoop the smoke into your hands and bring it to your head, so that you will think good thoughts - no anger, avarice, jealousy or hate.
Bring the smoke to your eyes so you will see the world around you in a good way.
Bring the smoke to the throat so you will speak always in kindness and in non-judgmental ways.
Bring the smoke to the heart so you feel connected to all living beings in a loving way.
Bring the smoke to the solar plexus so your emotions connect with the Earth Mother.
For Women, bring the smoke to the womb, so your life giving energies go out into the world in balance and harmony.
For Men, bring the smoke to your Sex, so that it will not rule your existance thus allowing you to live in balance and harmony.
Finally, Bring the smoke under the feet, this way the dark side of your soul and the world will not follow in your footsteps.
Now, this Sacred Smoke must be given to the Old Ones,
in this way they will be included within your Spirit, Heart, Mind, Body and Soul.
You do this with the Sacred Fan, by FANNING the Sacred Smoke in the Seven Directions asking each for their help and assistance.

The Seven Directions are: East, South, West, North, Above, Below and Within.

Ah, do you hear that? Listen carefully,
for the Ancestors have awakened from their deep sleep and have come along with the spirit of the smudge.
They are here to help you heal. As is the way with all things sacred, great respect must be given to the process of smudging
for a relationship is being forged between you, the plant spirits, the Ancestors and Great Spirit.
It is a powerful Medicine, and must be respected.

And so it is . . .

Ho! Mitakuye oyasin. Hecetu Yelo !! . . . All my relatives, it is indeed so..!!

Benzoin Resin

Benzoin resin or styrax resin is a balsamic resin obtained from the bark of several species of trees in the genus Styrax. It is used in perfumes, some kinds of incense, and medicine (see tincture of benzoin). Its principle component is benzoic acid. Commonly called "benzoin", it is called "benzoin resin" here to distinguish it from the crystalline compound benzoin. Benzoin resin does not contain this crystalline compound. Benzoin is also called gum benzoin or gum benjamin, but "gum" is incorrect as benzoin is not a water-soluble polysaccharide. Its name probably came via Italian from Arabic Caravans from Indonesia.
Benzoin resin is a common ingredient in incense-making and perfumery because of its aroma and fixative properties. Gum benzoin is a major component of the type of church incense used in Russia and some other Orthodox Christian societies. Benzoin resin is also used in blended types of Japanese incense, Indian incense, Chinese incense, and Papier d'Arménie. When called sambrani or sambraani, it is a popular Indian incense used to scent and treat hair and prevent infections.

Copal Resin

COPAL ~ Can Cansin {Chahng Chahng-sheeng} ~ (Copaifera officinalis) is a type of resin produced by plant or tree secretions, particularly identified with the forms of aromatic tree resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as a ceremonially burned incense, as well as for a number of other purposes. More generically, the term copal is now also used to describe resinous substances in an intermediate stage of polymerization and hardening between more viscous and 'gummy' resins and amber. The word copal is derived from the Nahuatl language word copalli, meaning "incense". To the pre-Columbian Maya and contemporary Maya peoples it is known in the various Mayan languages as pom (or a close variation thereof), although the word itself has been demonstrated to be a loanword to Mayan from (proto-)Mixed-Zoquean languages.

It is sometimes likened to, or substituted for, amber and put in jewelry.

Copal is still used by a number of indigenous peoples of Mexico, Central America and some Native Americans of the SW United States as an incense, during ceremonies such as the "sweat lodge" ceremony. It is available in different forms. The hard, amber-like yellow copal is a less expensive version.
Then there is a White Copal, a hard, milky, sticky substance, which is a more expensive version of the same resin.

Dragon's Blood Resin

Dragon's blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of four distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, and Pterocarpus. The red resin was used in ancient times as a varnish, medicine, incense, and dye. It continues to be used for those purposes today.

Name and source: A great degree of confusion existed for the ancients in regard to the source and identity of dragon's blood. Dracaena resin, "true" dragon's blood, and the poisonous mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide) were often confused by the ancient Romans, as there appears to be a tendency to call all things that are bright red "dragon's blood". In ancient China, little or no distinction was made between the dragon's blood from the different plant species.

All four resins, Dracaena Cinnabari (first two pictures), Dracaena Draco (second set of two), Dracaena Reflexa
(fifth picture) and Daemonorops Arecaceae (last two pictures) are still marketed in contemporary times as
Dragon's Blood with little or no distinction between the plant sources.

Voyagers to the Canary Islands in the 15th century obtained dragon's blood as dried garnet-red drops from Dracaena draco, a native to the Canary Islands and Morocco. The resin is exuded from the wounded trunk or branches of the tree. Dragon's blood is also obtained by the same method from Dracaena cinnabari, which is endemic to the island of Socotra east of Somalia. This resin was traded to ancient Europe via the Incense Road. Dragon's blood resin is also produced from the rattan palms of the genus Daemonorops of the Indonesian islands and known there as jerang or djerang. It is gathered by breaking off the layer of red resin encasing the unripe fruit of the rattan. The collected resin is then rolled into solid balls before being sold.

Dragon's Blood was known to the ancient Romans was mostly collected from Dracaena cinnabari. It is also mentioned in the 1st century Periplus as one of the products of Socotra. Socotra had been an important trading center since at least the time of the Ptolemies. Dragon's Blood was used as a dye and medicine (respiratory & gastroinstestinal problems) in the Mediterranean basin, and was held by early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs to have medicinal properties. Dioscorides and other early Greek writers described its medicinal uses. Locals of Moomy city on Socotra island use the dragon's resin as a sort of cure-all, using it for such things as general wound healing, a coagulant (though this is ill advised with commercial products, as the Daemonorops species acts as an anti-coagulant and it is usually unknown what species the dragon's blood came from), curing diarrhea, lowering fevers, dysentery diseases, taken internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach, as well as an antiviral for respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and for such skin disorders as eczema. It was also used in medieval ritual magic and alchemy. Not native to North America, some of the plants have been brought over in recent years and have become naturalised.

Dragon's blood of both Dracaena draco and Dracaena cinnabari were used as a source of varnish for 18th century Italian violinmakers. There was also an 18th century recipe for toothpaste that contained dragon's blood. In modern times it is still used as a varnish for violins, in photoengraving, as an incense resin, and as a body oil.

Dragon's blood from both Daemonorops and Dracaena were used for ceremonies in India. Sometimes Dracaena resin, but more often Daemonorops resin, was used in China as red varnish for wooden furniture. It was also used to colour the surface of writing paper for banners and posters, used especially for weddings and for Chinese New Year.

In folk medicine, dragon's blood is used externally as a wash to promote healing of wounds and to stop bleeding. It is used internally for chest pains, post-partum bleeding, internal traumas and menstrual irregularities. For the Pagan, Shaman and Wiccan, it is used to increase the potency of spells for Strength, Protection, Love, Banishment and Sexuality.

Frankincense Resin

Frankincense or olibanum (Arabic) is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Boswellia sacra (syn. B. carteri, B. thurifera) (Burseraceae). It is used in incense as well as in perfumes.

Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggly but hardy Boswellia tree through slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. There are numerous species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity in the resin, even within the same species. These trees are also considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that the trees sometimes grow directly out of solid stone, which the tree attaches to by means of a sucker-like appendage. The deep roots and its sucker like appendage prevent the tree from being torn away from the stone during the violent storms that frequent this region; the tears from these hardy survivors are considered superior due to their more fragrant aroma. The aroma from these tears are more valuable for their presumed healing abilities and are also said to have superior qualities for religious ritual.[1] Tapping is done 2 to 3 times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic terpene, sesquiterpene and diterpene content. High quality resin can be visually discerned through its level of opacity. Omani frankincense is said to be the best in the world, although quality resin is also produced in Yemen, and along the north coast of Somalia. Recent studies have indicated that frankincense tree populations are declining due to over-exploitation. Heavily tapped trees have been found to produce seeds that germinate at only 16% while seeds of trees that had not been tapped germinate at more than 80%.

Frankincense was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders. Although it is better known as "frankincense" to westerners, the resin is also known as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic al-luban (roughly translated: "that which results from milking"), a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree. Some have also postulated that the name comes from the Arabic term for "Oil of Lebanon" since Lebanon was the place where the resin was sold and traded with Europeans. Compare with Exodus 30:34, where it is clearly named levonah, meaning either "white" or "Lebanese" in Hebrew.

The lost city of Ubar, sometimes identified with Irem in what is now the town of Shisr in Oman, is believed to have been a centre of the frankincense trade along the recently rediscovered "Incense Road". Ubar was rediscovered in the early 1990s and is now under archaeological excavation.

The Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with Frankincense and knew it was harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He reports, however, that the gum was dangerous to harvest because of poisonous snakes that lived in the trees. He goes on to describe the method used by the Arabians to get around this problem, that being the burning of the gum of the styrax tree whose smoke would drive the snakes away. The resin is also mentioned by Theophrastus and by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.

Frankincense trees in Dhufar, OmanFrankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. Olibanum essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. The smell of the olibanum smoke is due to the products of pyrolysis.

Frankincense was lavishly used in religious rites. In the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament, it was an ingredient for incense (Ex 30:34) ; according to the Gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the Biblical Magi "from out of the east." The Egyptians ground the charred resin into a powder called kohl. Kohl was used to make the distinctive black eyeliner seen on so many figures in Egyptian art. The aroma of frankincense is said to represent life and the Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths have often used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants and individuals considered to be moving into a new phase in their spiritual lives.

The growth of Christianity, with an initial deritualisation of religion later to be reverted,[citation needed] depressed the market for frankincense during the 4th century AD. Desertification made the caravan routes across the Rub al Khali or "Empty Quarter" of Arabia more difficult. Additionally, increased raiding by the nomadic Parthians in the Near East caused the frankincense trade to dry up after about AD 300.

Frankincense is edible and often used in various traditional medicines in Asia for digestion and healthy skin. Edible frankincense must be pure for internal consumption, meaning it should be translucent, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a (very) slight greenish tint. it is often chewed like gum, but it is stickier because it is a resin.

Frankincense comes in many grades, and its quality is based on color, purity, aroma, and age.

Frankincense is also used to generate smoke effects in the film industry.

Myrrh Resin

Myrrh is a reddish-brown resinous material, the dried sap of the tree Commiphora myrrha, native to Yemen, Somalia and the eastern parts of Ethiopia. The sap of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species are also known as myrrh, including that from C. erythraea (sometimes called East Indian myrrh), C. opobalsamum and Balsamodendron kua. Its name entered English via the Ancient Greek, which is probably of Semitic origin. Myrrh is also applied to the potherb Myrrhis odorata otherwise known as "Cicely" or "Sweet Cicely".

High quality myrrh can be identified through the darkness and clarity of the resin. However, the best method of judging the resin's quality is by feeling the stickiness of freshly broken fragments directly to determine the fragrant-oil content of the myrrh resin. The scent of raw myrrh resin and its essential oil is sharp, pleasant, somewhat bitter and can be roughly described as being "stereotypically resinous". When burned, it produces a smoke that is heavy, bitter and somewhat phenolic in scent, which may be tinged with a slight vanillic sweetness. Unlike most other resins, myrrh expands and "blooms" when burned instead of melting or liquefying.

The scent can also be used in mixtures of incense, to provide an earthy element to the overall smell, and as an additive to wine, a practice alluded to by ancient authorities such as Fabius Dorsennus. It is also used in various perfumes, toothpastes, lotions, and other modern toiletries.

Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and was used, up until about the 15th century, as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations. The "holy oil" traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as "receiving the Myrrh".

Myrrh is a constituent of perfumes and incense, was highly valued in ancient times, and was often worth more than its weight in gold. The Greek word for myrrh, came to be synonymous with the word for "perfume". In Ancient Rome myrrh was priced at five times as much as frankincense, though the latter was far more popular. Myrrh was burned in ancient Roman funerals to mask the smell emanating from charring corpses. It was said that the Roman Emperor Nero burned a year's worth of myrrh at the funeral of his wife, Poppaea. Pliny the Elder refers to myrrh as being one of the ingredients of perfumes, and specifically the "Royal Perfume" of the Parthians. He also says myrrh was used to fumigate wine jars before bottling.

In Christian Scriptures, Myrrh was one of the gifts of the Magi to the infant Jesus according to Matthew, and is cited in Mark as an intoxicant that was offered to Jesus during the crucifixion. Because of both of these contexts, myrrh is a common ingredient in incense offered during Christian liturgical celebrations (see Thurible). In Roman Catholic liturgical tradition, pellets of myrrh are traditionally placed in the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil.

In Eastern Christianity, the use of incense is much more frequent than in the West. In some traditions, special emphasis is placed on the offering of incense at Vespers and Matins, because of the Old Testament regulation regarding the evening and morning offering of incense.

Because myrrh was the primary ingredient in the anointing oil God commanded Moses to make (Exodus 30:23-33), it is used in the preparation of chrism which is used by many churches, both Eastern and Western.

Metaphysical and Healing Lore

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