How to Light Loose Incense

Loose incense can be made from a variety of different materials such as herbs, resins, and powders. This is different than an incense stick or incense code because it's a loose material unattached to a stick and not formed into any shape. Using loose incense can be a unique spiritual experience just in the ritual of lighting it itself. The method of using loose incense entails more of a hands-on approach. With incense sticks or cones, you light it and let it smoke – it's rather effortless. With loose incense, you'll be more involved in the process of its use.



  • Fireproof dish (ceramic, cast iron, etc.)

  • Charcoal disk

  • Charcoal tongs

  • Loose incense of your choosing (dried herbs, resin, powder, or blend)

  • Lighter or match

1. Light the charcoal

Holding a charcoal disk with tongs at a safe distance, use your lighter or match to light the corner of the charcoal disk. The disk will begin to spark as it lights. Once it's sparking, it will self light the rest of itself. You may set the charcoal disk in your fireproof dish now. Set the disk such that the concave side is facing up giving you a little "bowl" shape to sprinkle the incense on.

2. Sprinkle incense on the coal

Once the charcoal disk is fully lit (the coal will be done sparking), have your loose incense ready. You'll want to have it in a dish where you don't have to struggle to get a pinch of the incense. Using your fingers, pinch a small amount (literally just a pinch) of the loose incense. NOTE: if you're using a resin b itself, start with a rice grain size of resin so you can understand how much smoke there will be. Use more as you see fit. Sprinkle this incense onto the charcoal disk. It will begin to smolder and smoke. Depending on how much incense you've added, it may be very smoky so be safe and have some fresh air to circulate your space.

3. Replenish incense on coal disk

Depending on the loose incense material you're using, you'll need to replenish the supply of incense on the coal disk as it will burn away relatively quickly (within a few minutes or less). Continue to replenish the incense on the coal disk as the former pinch burns away. You may continue this for as long as you'd like until the coal disk extinguishes naturally (about 30 minutes or so). Otherwise, if you're done using your coal before it burns out naturally, you may smother it with sand to put it out.


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