Archive for frankincense

Merry Christmas to All and to All A Goodnight…The Final Smoke Ring.

Posted in Arabian bakhour, bahkhoor, bakhoor, Christian incense, Cold War, desert bakhoor incense, Desert culture, Ethiopia, Incense, Life and Lifestyles, Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Clergy and Information, perfume, Perfume Reviews, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2009 by blackincense

BPI and more specifically, Columbina, would like to wish all of her many friends, both in the world, and those who are not of it, a very Merry Christmas.  This blog has been closed for a while, but I wanted to end it on a positive note, at the close of this season.  It’s been a joyous ride, and I continue to blog about many other interests, life experiences, and art over at Tales From the Golden Ghetto.

But all good things must come to an end, and Smoke Rings has finally “dissipated”.

I am truly grateful to the following people who taught me how to blog, how to be a better writer, and frankly, how to be a better person.  Many of them are shy, and therefore, I will only use links to their blogs to name them. As I’ve said before, this isn’t some annoying, self absorbed “good-bye” or anything.  (First, I’d like to thank God for this award….LOL)

But I want to say to these lovely people:  All of you made 2009 bearable, and a wonderful journey of learning from mistakes, learning from suffering and learning about myself.  All of you helped to give me my greatest gift for Christmas:  my identity.  Through exploring so many subjects, topics and discussions with you, I finally came “home” in my heart and found out who I really am.  I will always be grateful to you and my hands will always find a way to help you, my lips a way to pray for you, my heart a way to love you, my head a way to bless you, my feet a way to direct you.

Kyrie Eleison, a voice of truth and beauty in the wilds of Montreal — a true sister on the Way.

Juvenaly, “Misha” Martinka of Theophany Designs – my beloved webmaster and friend, Mesa, Arizona

Uncle Clem – the distinguished, dignified, and truly humble Professor of Theology in Asheville, NC

Breaking Babylon — the son I never had.

The Desert Seeker —fellow TCK/global nomad, and truly humble teacher of many things arcane and Orthodox.

Sergius-Bob –wherever he may be, may he be blessed and know he always has a home.

Orthodox Monk — we’ve never met, but someday, God willing.  You helped me to learn how to quit being a victim, stand up for myself, for others and for the Faith, when necessary.  I’ll still be “stalking” you in cyber space, learning from your excellent example.

Justinian:  you defended me when I needed it, and you encouraged me when I was truly despairing.  You also taught me to stop using fragmented sentences and to be more precise!  LOL

Iconblogographer — Matthew Garrett:  inspiration, and gentleness.  As well as battling cosmic evil as Batman, you are da man.

I close this blog permanently, and with great gratitude to all of you and these words from Tolkien’s , “The Hobbit”, the ultimate TCK poem.

Roads Go Ever On — (c) JRR Tolkien

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

(C) Ted Naismith

Leaving the Shire by Artist (c) Ted Naismith


Re-write: A Mouse For All Seasons

Posted in Orthodox Christianity, religion with tags , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2008 by blackincense
Due to recent events, and multiple projects, I haven’t been able to write in awhile.  But Christmas is almost here, and so I was asked to write an article for my parish newsletter.  Below is a new version of an old post I made, in light of the Star of Christmas.  I hope you enjoy it.
Frankincense and Myrrh: 
Fit for a Mouse, Fit for a King
By Columbina, owner of Black Powder Incense (www.blackincense.com)
 
The original news story appeared in the Kansas City Star back in September.  Apparently, some scientists with too much time on their hands have discovered that mice love frankincense.  In their study, mice showed significant decreased anxiety and a general tendency toward uplifted spirits.  I am certainly not an expert on the emotional range or psychological states of mice, but I can tell you that none of this is news to anyone, except scientists.  Frankincense has always been a precious gift to humanity from God.  Its anti-septic qualities as well as its effect on human emotions and human pain, has been well documented throughout history.
 
It has often been speculated that the Magi brought frankincense and myrrh to Christ in order to purify the area.  He was, after all, born in a stable and one can only imagine the germ population that surrounded both Child and Mother.  Naturally, this would not have affected Him, and by extension, His Mother, but of course, the Magi could not have known that at the time. 
 
The frankincense that was offered to our Lord, was most likely, but cannot be proven to be the “black frankincense” that comes only from Ethiopia, also known as the “cradle of humanity”.
 
Our modern noses have been trained by Glade™, Re-nuzit ™ and Elizabeth Taylor ™.  Clove studded oranges and cinnamon rolls smell fantastic but such “Christmas” scents are simply the result of successful marketing campaigns.  They do not represent the “smell of Christmas” any more than Martha Stewart does. 
 
This Nativity let us enter in to the world of the Magi, and the mystery of a true Christmas scent.  When we burn frankincense and myrrh on Nativity Night, we can experience the fragrance of the purified Stable and Manger where our Lord was born.  Let our hearts, where He is to be born every year, be purified as well.
 
I have donated some packets of Ethiopian frankincense and myrrh to our parish bookstore, The Forerunner.  All monies from these sales will benefit Forerunner Books.  Please support your parish bookstore and in doing so, enter in to the Stable of Bethlehem, where even a mouse can answer a Heavenly call to Hope. 
The Christmas Mice by Wendell Minor

The Christmas Mice by Wendell Minor

Catch the Fire….

Posted in Orthodox Clergy and Information, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2008 by blackincense

I spend a lot time with the desert fathers and mothers, because I see so much in them that I want to be, to acheive, to harness.  I try very hard not to pretend to myself or others, that anything I say either in person, or on the internet, could possibly have any merit on its own.  I am very much aware that in fact, nothing I say has any merit on its own.  I am not a brilliant theologian or even a student of theology and so most of what I say probably has no meaning for anyone but myself anyway.

Having recently been reminded of how disposable I am, through loss of employment, I have found my spirit restless and troubled by thoughts of inferiority, self-abasement, and shame. So it was with a troubled spirit, that  I turned to the Desert Fathers once again, this morning.  This is what I read:

“Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ Then the old man, Abba Joseph,  stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you like, you can become all aflame.’ ”

I am reminded, that this life is not about employment, production of wealth, goods, or personal acclaim.  It’s not about attracting for oneself, the honors that go with a brilliant education or patting yourself on the back for being from the “school of hard knocks.”

My aim in this life, must be above all else, to become “all aflame”.  There is no other purpose in living, but to unite with God and to become a person with no enemies.  And as in all things, this too is given as a gift of choice.  Abba Joseph did not say “You must…” .  He said, “If you like…”

The God we worship is truly the author of grace.

An Ethiopian Monk rests outside his cell.

An Ethiopian Monk rests outside his cell.

Frankincense and Myrrh : Fit for a mouse, Fit for a King.

Posted in bakhoor, Desert culture, Incense, Orthodox Christianity, Perfume Reviews, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2008 by blackincense

Apparently, some scientists with too much time on their hands have discovered that mice love frankincense.  In their study, mice showed significant decreased anxiety and a general tendency toward uplifted spirits.  I am certainly not an expert on the emotional range or psychological states of mice, but I can tell you that none of this is news to anyone except scientists.

Original newstory:

http://www.kansascity.com/238/story/773432.html

Frankincense has always been a precious gift to humanity from God.  It’s anti-septic qualities as well as it’s effect on human emotions and human pain, has been well documented throughout history.  It has often been speculated that the Magi brought frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child in order to purify the area.  He was, after all, born in a stable, and one can only imagine the germ population that surrounded both Child and Mother.  Naturally, this would not affect Him, and by extension, His mother, but of course the Magi could not have realized that at the time.

In other parts of the world, where people are less addicted to the notions of “sweet”, frankincense and myrrh are used as chewing gum.  Not only does it clean teeth and gums, but it helps to prevent gum disease.  Myrrh, especially, is used for its anti-bacterial quality on wounds, cuts, and infections in general.

Does this mean that we should stop using anti-biotics or anti-depressants, etc.?  Not at all.  But I hope that when we burn frankincense and myrrh, we remember the One who gave it to us and rejoice in His kingly gift to us.