I’ve been suffering from some pretty gnarly sinus infections for the past year or so.

I’d quit vaping the year before, so it was curious to me that my respiratory system was just now going into overdrive. I knew there had to be something aggravating the issue, and it didn’t take much research for me to conclude that it was my daily sage-burning habit. It was something that I’d been subconsciously aware of, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself–after all, what would ritual be without the gorgeous swirling of intoxicating incense smoke as its backdrop? How would I cleanse my space, invite the deities, get in the ritual mindset?

Because giving up incense cold turkey was simply out of the question, I set out to find some decent alternatives. Turns out there are quite a few ways and means to recreate incense intoxication without the smoke itself, and I recommend using all of these in concert with each other for the fullest effect!

Room Spray

There are countless smokeless smudge sprays and refreshing room sprays to choose from, and most are simply delicious. Find a scent you love and spray liberally. If the sprays include salt, sage essential oil, or essences of herbs that correspond with cleansing, the more the better. You can also go old school and toss some Florida water around!

Essential Oils

Diffusing essential oils is kind of a big deal these days, and it’s easy to see why–they smell glorious and they do more to clean the air than pollute it! I diffuse oils during tarot readings and while in ritual–if you’re casting a spell and want to set an energetic tone, you can choose something with citrus. If you want to travel the astral, however, heady/woodsy scents work really well! If nothing eJust be careful diffusing them around pets–their livers have a hard time processing the oils.

Scented Candles

This is a classic choice, and for good reason–it works, and works well. If you’re reading these suggestions because you too deal with chronic sinus issues, I’d recommend that you burn either soy or beeswax candles and ensure that the scents used are paraben-free. One of the best ways to make sure you don’t choose a candle that will do more harm than good is to go with one that’s crafted with essential oils.

Flying Ointment


There’s a certain soporific feeling that’s inspired by a thick haze of frankincense resin smoke. I knew that none of my alternatives were likely to produce this, so I decided to try a flying ointment. It’s pretty awesome folks–there’s definitely a slightly trippy vibe to the experience, and one that works really well within the context of ritual.

So Much Love and Happy Ritual Making!

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