After putting the final touches on the blue lotus Kyphi, and then doing the same for The Ram, I still had the energy (spiritual, emotional & physical) to begin a new compounded resin incense. I worked on it for a few hours yesterday afternoon and into the evening, grinding and sieving and grinding some more. Doing this type of work for hours straight makes me more and more appreciate the idea of a heavy duty spice grinder or hammer mill in my future. At the same time, I remind myself that it's the hand work, the physical grinding of the raw materials with a mortar and pestle, that help infuse the incense with the 'magic' if you will. A spice grinder that gets loaded and whizzes away while the incenseur sits and scratches his or her bottom doesn't do much for the building up of magic. I've already compromised on this function of the process by using the grinder I have in the most extreme cases, as with orris root, or certain gum resins that even defy the odd hammer strike, or if I'm working on compounded resin, in which case a pound or so of resin needs fine powdering. Other materials get slowly, methodically, and tediously pounded into oblivion in a clay mortar with a wooden baseball bat-like pestle. I have climbed up to my bed many nights with the dust of aromatics in my hair, resins embedded under my nails and cuticles, and an uncooperative right hand (my dominant hand) refusing to do even the most menial of tasks, such as opening my bedroom door. All this because I refuse to take the easy way out because it is my strongly held belief that what makes my work good is the attention I give it during its gestation and then its birth.
The new compounded incense resin is going to be a doozy, something completely out of my wheelhouse in terms of scent building, but I'm excited about the prospect -- I can smell this incense burning in my mind's -- nose? -- and it is fabulous! So, it's back to the grindstone.