Fragrance of the Gods: Ancient Egyptian Incense

Incense in Ancient Egypt was seen as something containing the properties of life which could evoke belief and stabilise faith. It was thought by the ancients that incense brings about reverence as well as the manifestation of the Netjer it is being offered to.  The Ancient Egyptians even had a god of incense – Nefertum, the lion headed son of Sekhmet who in the creation myth was the lotus rising from the primordial waters.  Nefertum’s connection to scent and healing makes him the perfect patron of incense, especially since his symbol – the lotus, dawns every morning like incense smoke wafting towards the rays of the sun.

Incense has been a highly valued and used in Egypt all through its history.  This was made evident by its worth and the lengths the Ancient Egyptians would go to, to source it. Incense had a major role in the magickal and spiritual practices of Kemet and many expeditions were sent down to the Land of Punt (modern day Ethiopia or Sudan but scholars are yet to determine its exact location) to source rare and expensive resins used in incense blends.  Many pharaohs, noblemen and priests of Ancient Egypt would cultivate and propagate trees to keep up with the demand needed by the temples, tombs and residences of the time.

Various ceremonies in antiquity revolved around fumigation practices and in Ancient Egypt this has been evident in many reliefs and papyri describing these in detail, which has highlighted what a vital function it played.  The most common type of fumigation using incense in Ancient Egypt was used in a devotional act before representations of Netjer as well as for the Akhu at ancestor shrines or tombs.

The ancients believed that Netjer embodied the smoke of burning incense, as a romantic manifestation in the omissions of the lit incense they were offered by the priests and populace alike.  Like “God” the smoke from incense can permeate all, at times even without being visibly detected.  Priests therefore would offer incense as one of the ways to animate and reinvigorate Nejter’s manifest representation on earth, in the form of a ritual called “Opening of the Mouth”.  A way the priests could do this was by blowing through the censor containing the lit incense which activated the Heka through the breath whilst directing it.  Using incense to fumigate not only cleaned the temple and its possessions but it bestowed Heka through to the priests themselves as the scent activates communion with Netjer through an altered state which is induced.

It’s surprising to know that many recipes and processes for making incense was shrouded in secrecy but it was very well known that they contained specific instructions on how to create them with specific allocated time, ingredients with symbolic connections and Heka.  The priests who were responsible for creating incense for their Netjer’s did so with complete respect and devotion as if they were tending to the physical manifestation of the gods themselves – which they were in part, since making incense was seen as creating the body of the Gods.  Frankincense and myrrh resin gathered was referred to as “sweat” or “tears” of the Nejters and as such the Ancient Egyptians treated their frankincense and myrrh as emblems of their Gods bodies. The trees themselves were seen as fruitful goddesses who’s resin was divine menstrual blood.  So as you can see this emphasizes what great importance incense was to the daily rites of the Ancient Egyptians from their homes, workplaces, palaces and temples.

Today Egypt’s love of incense survives through the perfumery industry, the fragrant filled swinging censer of Coptic orthodox priests as well as the burning braziers found in the common people’s home shrines.   Many practicing Kemetics like myself make their own incense blends and one which is used as a staple go to for all Netjers and Heka is a compounded incense called Kyphi. Here is a recipe I’d like to share with you which you can easily make yourself:


3/4 (of a part) Honey

3 (parts) Raisins

1/4 (of a part) Copal

1/4 (of a part) Myrrh

1/4 (of a part) Orris Root Powder

1 (part) Sandalwood

1/4 (of a part) Storax

1/2 (of a part) Frankincense

1/2 (of a part) Cinnamon Powder

1/2 (of a part) Finely Ground Benzoin

Wine (enough to moisten entire mixture)



  1. Thoroughly grind all ingredients separately, and then mix together all the ingredients except for the benzoin.
  1. Add the wine to moisten, then form the mixture into small marble sized balls and roll them in the benzoin.
  1. Place and cure (dry) on baking paper until firm (a moon phase is the best time frame from experience.)


(c) T. Georgitsis 2015


FOI: Isian News, Brigantia 2018

Linda Iles has produced a great issue this season of the Fellowship of Isis zine which is a free magazine with members contributing from all around the world.

I have contributed an article on Bellydance and for your copy follow this link:

Isian News, Issue No. 167, Brigantia 2018

Isis-Seshat 2017 Summer Issue: Summer Festival

The latest issue of Isis Seshat (the journal for the Fellowship of Isis and the like) has just come out and I have an article about a summer festival in the southern hemisphere  – get your copy now: PDFs are available for purchase at $5 USD each; just email me via PayPal at anna dot applegate at yahoo dot com.


HoN Kemetic Wep Ronpet Dates

Here is a basic Kemetic ritual for Wep Ronpet I wrote and use yearly:

Wep Ronpet Ritual

Here are the dates for the end of the year and Wep Ronpet:

July 28th Last Day of the Year: Feast of Lights at Esna (and Sais)

Epagomenal Day 00 – July 29th: Day Dedicated to Yinepu and Khonsu

Epagomenal Day 0 – July 30th: Day Dedicated to Djehuty

Epagomenal Day 1 – July 31st: Birthday of Wesir

Epagomenal Day 2 – August 1st: Birthday of Heru-wer

Epagomenal Day 3 – August 2nd: Birthday of Set

Epagomenal Day 4 – August 3rd: Birthday of Aset

Epagomenal Day 5 – August 4th: Birthday of Nebt-het

1 August 5th – Wep Ronpet




The Alternative Spirit (Issue 13): Regular Column – Ancient Medicine

In this issue of of The Alternative Spirit Magazine, I’m talking about one of my favorite subjects – medicine of the ancients!

You can purchase your copy here:


Axis Mundi: Ancient Egyptian Aromatherapy

I have an article about Ancient Egyptian “Aromatherapy” in this issue called Fragrance of the Gods – check it out, its free!

Axis Mundi Autumn Issue 2017



Isis-Seshat 2017 Spring Issue: Kemetic Medicine

The latest issue of Isis Seshat (the magazine for the Fellowship of Isis and the like) has just come out and I have an article on Kemetic Medicine.

This special issue commemorates the 41st anniversary of the Fellowship of Isis, the centennial anniversary of Lady Olivia Robertson’s birth, and celebrates our relationships with Holy Powers in Holy Places. $5 a copy payments via PayPal at


FOI: Isian News, Brigantia 2017


Linda Iles has produced a great issue this season of the Fellowship of Isis zine which is a free magazine with members contributing from all around the world.

I have contributed an article on the Sistrum used in Ancient Egypt and by modern day practitioners.

Brigantia Issue No. 163, Brigantia, 2017 for the FOI:

Issue No. 163, Brigantia, 2017

(If the link above doesn’t work, try the link below.)

Isian News


Purification in Kemet

Purification was an important aspect of the daily life of the Ancient Egyptians. It kept Isfet (evil) away which took the form of demons, pestilence and disease – which would run rife without adequate purification practices.   Purification was seen as a way to strengthen the power of protection as well as provide insight through making the way clear and clean.

The Ancient Egyptians would use fumigation as part of the purification process which involved incense made from resins and herbs which would be lit and wafted through temple, royal and residential homes alike.  The Ancient Egyptian clergy and aristocracy would shave their bodies as a way to keep themselves pure and free from pollutants.  The Priests would also keep themselves pure by avoiding dressing in garments made from animals such as wool or leather and only wear natural materials like linen. Another method the priests had for remaining pure was to abstain from specific foods, depending on which God they served.


Priests had to abstain from any sexual intercourse before rituals as a form of purification even though they normally lived like the rest of the population and married and had children.  The only difference is that they dedicated some time out of the year to honor their gods in their part time vocations as priests of the temple.  Therefore before they re-entered the temple they would abstain from intimate relations to be pure for their gods.

The priests and royalty had lakes they had deemed for divine purification.  There they would ritually bathe themselves with natron, a salt like substance collected from the banks of the Nile river, before entering their temples to perform their religious rites.  Natron was used by the Ancient Egyptians for mummification but the priests also used it for personal purification in which they would wash their mouth out, hands and feet when it was dissolved in water.

Purification of the temple shrine and the associated tools was completed using natron so it was a cleaning agent which was pretty much used for everything.    Natron infused water was used to wash the temple walls and floors and implements as well as the images of the gods.  Images of the gods within the temple sanctuary were sprinkled with water and grains of natron during various times of the day and night when opening, maintaining and closing the shrine occurred.  Any remaining natron water was used to wash the surrounding streets and buildings.



For practicing Kemetics using abstinence, fumigation, cleaning and bathing still occurs as part of the purification practice today. Since natron was a natural occurrence found on the banks of the Nile and we don’t have the luxury of being able to collect it this way I would like to share with you how to make your own natron.

Two methods I have found to make natron successfully :

  1. Simply mix some baking soda and kosher salt in the blender or in a mortar with a pestle – ¼ part baking soda to ¾ part salt. 
  2. Bake method outlined below which I prefer due to the consistency and its potency:

a. Mix one cup kosher salt and one cup baking soda and place in a cooking pot (shouldn’t be more than ¼ of the depth of the pot).

b. Add water until it covers the mixture and heat on low whilst constantly stirring.

c. Once it reaches boiling point ensure all the ingredients blend smoothly and take off heat.

d. Mixture should be slime like substance which you can now pour and spread over a baking paper lined oven tray.

e. You can put it in direct sunlight to dry out covered by netting so it isn’t polluted by grit or bugs (this can take a month or so) or alternatively place in a very low oven for several hours until the mixture dries out ensuring the mixture doesn’t turn brown as it must remain white in color.

f. Once dry, break apart the sheets of natron into smaller barley sized pieces and store in air tight container so it doesn’t get damp and clump up.

(c) T. Georgitsis 2014


Daughter of the Sun Review: Pagan Collective of Victoria

Just received a positive review for the Sekhmet devotional I edited:

Published in Spokes of the Wheel,  The Official Newsletter of the Pagan Collective of Victoria,  Yule 2016 Volume 3, Issue 4

“Daughter of the Sun, A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet”

It’s a strange experience discovering a God or Goddess that is unfamiliar to you for the first time.

You may have come across them in a classical painting, a reference in a poem or a book on mythology it catches your imagination or has a spark of recognition. It encourage to find out more and search through obscure references books looking for the earliest of references and may even push you further explore the culture or history of the people that originally worshiped your new God.

And that’s why it’s been such a pleasure to review Daughter of the Sun – A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet. Sekhmet is a Goddess I really knew very little about. The joy of this anthology is the diverse views and perspectives on the Goddess that that paints a such a vivid picture.

T. Georgitsis has done a stellar effort here as editor of this anthology consisting of such a diverse range of material this book is full of exciting stories, beautiful poetry and wonderful art.We are introduced to Sekhmet; A Goddess of the ancient Egypt pantheon. Sekhmet is a Goddess of many facets: Avatar of justice, warrior, healer, hunter and mother. You’ll will learn so much about the character of this Goddess throughout this anthology

This book is filled with poetic inspiration and vividly paints a picture of Sekmet very much alive and radiating with power thousands of years later after the fall of Ancient Egypt.

I thoroughly recommend you get copy Daughter of the Sun if you are familiar with Sekhmet you will find it an invaluable resource. If you are just learning about this Goddess for the first time like I am, it is a wonderful introduction.

Ryan, Co-Founder of the Pagan Collective of Victoria