Monday, January 17, 2011


For Christmas I received an aromatic treasure from Eleneetha at Etsy (aka Anastasia Angelopolous) ~ a packet of handmade kyphi. What you get when you order this strange looking object is a little cookie of resins, raisins and herbs, so beautifully scented you're almost afraid to burn it. But do! From the first wisp of magical smoke to the last, this kyphi inspires. A thousand blessings spring from the ether, setting your sore mind at ease. This is the kyphi of the ancient Egyptians, the offering to the gods, the homage to Kings and Queens, the hopes and dreams of the common man.

Kyphi is for everyone these days ~ go get you some!


  1. oooxxxx, that means thank you and thank you for some of the olibanum for these kyphi..

  2. xxoxoxoxoxoxoxx ~ you're welcome!

  3. Anonymous4:24 PM

    Can I ask for expert advice following this timely blog? How did you burn the kyphi incense?

    I bought a pack of incense-burning charcoal especially to burn frankincense resin; however, I simply cannot light the charcoal in the first place!

    Each little charcoal shape is like a solid charcoal wheel with a tiny central hole (as for a slender axle), but how should I set it alight? All of my attempts to do so have come to nothing so far.

    Yours, bewildered but hopeful, Anna in Edinburgh

  4. Some charcoals are more difficult to light than others, or they just seem that way. Typically, incense charcoals will spark and sputter a bit, with a bit of a racing line that's visible passing over the surface of the charcoal, letting you know when it reaches the opposite side, having thus "lit" the entire charcoal. Hookah or narghile charcoals light with less fireworks (usually) because they are made with fewer chemicals because eventually someone is going to smoke tobacco using the charcoal as the burn source and it wouldn't be good to suck those chems into the lungs. You may have hookah charcoals -- they take a little longer to get lit, and when you think they aren't, they are and you make the mistake of touching them or tossing them in the bin and setting your house afire :) On the other hand, charcoals are highly susceptible to moisture. If they ever become damp they won't light. I light mine by holding them with tongs over an open flame, like the kitchen burner or a candle, for about 30 seconds, then settle it down into a fire proof container -- I use small terra cotta plates, like those used under terra cotta plant containers to catch the water running through. Give the charcoal about four or five minutes to completely heat up and then drop a small bit of incense on it -- if it smokes, you know your charcoal is lit. If not, it goes over the flame again. Very rarely am I unable to get a charcoal lit, unless, of course, it's gotten wet. I hope this helps. Good luck!

  5. Anonymous4:17 PM

    You're a star, Justine; thanks for giving me such a clear and full explanation.

    I'll give it a go, using your tongs and kitchen burner technique.

    This Ethiopian frankincense resin has been languishing for too long, and it'll be great to see how it performs:-)

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  6. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Tongs and burner, smokin' hot charcoal mini-wheel, frankincense wafting everywhere: success.

    Thanks for the advice:-)

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh



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