Spring,fragrance and new intentions


Spring has sprung and nature is treating us to beautiful vivid colours and fragrances, which we have all longed to see and smell after  Winter. Spring demonstrates a freshness which no other time of the year offers ,the frost now begins to leave the earth and the sun gets higher which encourages all the Spring blossoms and bulbs to show its beauty. The balsam scent of the trees is fresh in the air and new sweet grass begins sprout the wonderful essence of blossom is in abundance, clearly to be seen is the remnants of the fallen leaves of the previous season. What better time to plant your positive intentions with both the remnants of the old and new vigor of Spring clearly in sight.
Positive Intent.
There are many ways to make positive intentions, you can make your own dream boards by putting images on a board of what they would like in your future(i.e if you want more money put an image of money on your board or if you would like a new house put an image on your board of where you would like to live). Another way of making positive intention is to imagine what you would like in your future and picture yourself living the experience . I personally like to write a list of aspirations for the year and note down the positive effects these aspirations will have on me and the people around me. Anyway there are many ways to make positive intentions and there is plenty of information on the web on how to do so. When making positive intention it is useful to keep it fun , develop a clear picture of what you want and think what action you can take to make your goals a reality.

Japan incenseIncense
At this time of year I take the time to visualizes what goals I would like to see grow and explore with my imagination what action would help me.
I infuse my goals with fragrance by burning incense as it is a great way of communicating with my unconscious and developing future plans for my memory. Our sense of smell is strongly linked with our memories, so what better ways is there to use our sense of smell to grow new positive intentions for our memories to store. I can also burn the incense every time I want to revisit my goals and give them more detail or help me to stay focused.

My Favorite incense to use is Baieido’s Kokonoe, which is a Japanese incense. Kokone  is inspired by the  Imperial Palace in the Spring time. When burnt it unleashes a bouquet of Spring aromas and reminds me of Cherry blossoms ,daffodils, violets, hyacinths and the sweet-smelling balsam of the trees. In short this incense is Spring in a stick,which is uplifting and energizing .The fragrance has a definite  floral and sweet woody quality to it . What better incense to use to grow and focus on your positive intentions?




baieido image

I love Japanese incense and in particular the incense that Baieido make.My first introduction to Baieido was with their Kobunboku short sticks. I bought it as it had great reviews and it didn’t cost to much which suited . When I burnt it ,it delivered more than I was expecting. I was captivated with it’s sweet spicy earthy scent.I never had experienced an incense like this . This first experience with Baieido incense has lead me to be a  great fan of their incense ranges.Divine Incense & Aromatics 007

The considered process of making Baieido incense means it delivers an incense that is both beautiful,elegant and manages to be both complex and subtle at the same time.

http://olfactoryrescueservice.wordpress.com/ is possibly one the best informative incense blogs there is. They say  about Baieidos’ Kobunboku range, ‘These are not incenses for stuffy noses and short attention spans, they reveal themselves more in introspective mode and as such are perfect fits for meditation, and are categorized both as incenses that are traditional and used for meditation.’

Baieido have a 12 stage process to making their incense ,which is:

1. An inspection of  natural perfume takes place, to ensure the quality
2. The aloes and sandalwoods are milled and crushed together into a powder form.
3. The ingredients are now all blended together and made to tradition recipes.
4. The mixed materials are put through a sieve to remove any impurities.
5. The materials are kneaded to form a clay-like substance, called tama.008
6. The tama is pressed to form stick shapes and are then laid on a tray and cut to a set length.
7. The incense sticks are dried out and any that aren’t straight are removed.
8. The sticks of incense are cut into different lengths.
9. The sticks are dried for several days in summer and ten days in winter.
10. The incense sticks are adjusted with a board, to help prevent them becoming bent.
11. Each individual incense stick is carefully inspected, then bound together with a fixed weight.
12. The sticks are checked again, before being packed up.

The six grades of Jinko (Aloeswood, Agarwood).

The Six grades of Jinko (Aloeswood, Agarwood)

In Japan Aloeswood is the most prized fragrant wood incense of all. The amazing quality of its incense is only just being discovered in the West.

In Japan, valuable kimonos were scented with smoke from burning Aloeswood. This is the traditional wood for the incense ceremony of Kodo, and in Japan it is purchased in six different qualities. The best wood, Kyara, is differentiated by colour and quality.

Aloeswood, along with santal and clove, is sacred to the Buddhist religion. The living and dead tree is attacked by a fungus, and over time, preferably centuries, nature provides an incense material worth more than its weight in gold.

Aloeswood is a psychoactive substance, and is used in oriental medicines for nervous disorders, colic and as a heart tonic.

The six grades of Jinko are as follows:-

Kyara (The Aristocrat)                                                                                     the-lady-maisumi-of-daimonji-ya-md
Connoisseurs regard this as top-grade material. It is divided according to quality, based on colour (green, black, purple and dark brown-grey).

Rakoku (The Samurai)the-actor-band-mitsugor-ii-md

Reminiscent of the warrior, the aroma of Rakoku is considered relatively pungent and bitter. This type originally hailed from Thailand.

Sasora (The Monk)

Of priestly demeanor, the aroma is considered delicate, cool and sour. Sasora may have originated from the western shores of India, around Goa.


Sumotara (The Servant disguised as a noble)


The aroma has the makings of Kyara, but with the lack of subtlety in-depth. It is an impersonator, hence the name. Described as a sour smell, Sumotara has a somewhat distasteful demeanor. Sumotara originally came from the island of Sumatra in the east Indian archipelago.

Manaka (The fickle one of changing moods)


Delicate and ever-changing, the tastes of sweet, sour bitter, hot and salty are not easily detectable, and if they are it is a fleeting impression. Manaka hailed from the strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaya.


Manaban ( The coarse peasant)

Sweet. unrefined and coarse, with a grittiness that distinguishes it from high quality material. Manaban came from the Malabar coast of southern India.


syukohkoku                 white cloud



Mike & Nikki

Thank you to The library of Congress for the images

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Incense Poem

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/natelawson/5520756153/">nate_lawson</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

The sweet fragrance of incense

touches my senses like gentle spring rain upon my skin

each note of scent offered triggers a child like delight

delight passes through to images and feelings of times

past which fade into the aether

and I am offered peace

the smoke twist and curls up to the heavens

and for a moment I am content




Thank you for the image by

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/natelawson/5520756153/”>nate_lawson</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;


Eight ways to use incense



Kick your shoes off , curl up on the sofa and have a mug of tea with some of your favorite incense and have a moment of relaxation to your self .


  1. Connect with our senses.

 Attune to your incense by not only be aware of the scent but notice what you feel when you sense it. Notice what sensations there are in the body and what thoughts come through in the mind, Try not to label the experience by observing what is happening and not by judging the experience.

  1. To enhance spiritual practice.

Incense has a long tradition with spiritual practices. Whether that be a personal spiritual journey and practice or part of a religious practice and faith, incense has many uses to enhance. For some it is a way of developing greater mindfulness for others it is part of the ritual to their faith, there are so many different ways incense is used. It’s been said by some incense connects the heavens with the earth. Just as the concept of spirituality can be a shared experience it also is personal one, which mirrors the experience of use of incense it can be shared at the same time as being a purely personal one.Candle Flame


  1. To cleanse the home.

Feel your home has got a bit stagnant and the energy levels are low? Give your home  a good clean and tidy, making sure you have got rid of things you no longer want or need. Choose a sandalwood, sage or agarwood based incense or one of your favorite incense to bless each room and intend the home be a place health ,harmony, love and balance.  

  1. Welcome guest into your home.

Have fun , choose an incense which you feel matches your guests burn it in the entrance of your home to welcome them in. If like ask them if the incense scent is one they would choose, you may be surprised with the results. 


  1. To create a mood. 

Whether you want to create a sensual seductive mood or a uplifting and invigorating feel, incense will  help you to influence the mood through the beautiful fragrance it omits. 


  1. Heighten and colour awareness.

Just as colour brings vibrancy to the world so does our sense of smell. The more attuned you become to incense you will also become more attuned to the world of scent. The more focus you pay to the incense you burn (as long as it is a good quality incense) the more sensitive it appears your sense of smell becomes. The world becomes a more colourful place when we become attuned to our sense of smell.




8. Create your own sanctuary.

Make yourself a warm bubble bath, light some candles, treat yourself to your favourite incense and have a beautiful body oil to massage into skin after your bath. Give yourself the pampering you deserve and be transported to your own sanctuary of bliss.



Incense,Plum Blossom and Connection



I breathe the cool incense smoke from the metal brazier,

While thinking about a poem from my dear friend Lu Wa.

My sandalwood-hearted companion spits out plum blossoms of smoke, 

Looking like the cloudy fog of the other world.

Perhaps it’s the soul of my friend the old mountain man

In the smoke’s dense patterns? 

– Kan Po, in memoriam (undated)


The journey of incense Shoyeido-Nijo (Avenue of the Villa Nijo)


First Steps

I started my journey with Nijo very much at a head level but with plenty of curiosity. I was wondering what would be the difference between coils and stick incense and thinking was the incense worth the price. Nijo gives you ten coils of incense and comes with a porcelain incense holder for the price of £26.75 ,which I would consider this the top of my budget for what I would pay for incense. Each coil burns between 2 and 2 1/2hrs. First steps   I lit Nijo and sat back and waited to see what I would sense. At first there were gentle waves of flora notes fill the air, it was pleasing like smelling the aroma of freshly cut flowers in the space. At this point I wanted more (it’s worth noting I can be impatient at times). I need not worry as later the incense  gave me so much more than I was expecting. Image

The middle

As time passed the intensity of the fragrance grew and it reveled definite notes of sandalwood along with a greater concentration of the flora notes. I felt as though the incense was taking me to a fragrant temple made up of exotic woods and flowers which filled me full of delight and joy as each moment  different elements of essence showed itself. During the experience I noticed I stopped trying to identify each ingredient and just sat back to connect with the experience.

Returning home

Once the incense had been burnt the room was left with traces of the aroma from the incense which was still to be felt the next morning. I now realize what a beautiful and fascinating incense this is for me. I understood that Nijo is a special incense, to be lit only when there is time to fully enjoy it or for special occasions and not a daily incense. I am left looking forward to my next adventure with Nijo and I will choose a time when I can fully appreciate it. Dare I say it I think this incense is worth every penny and I now fully appreciate the mastery of ingredients that Shoyeido have shown in producing such a beautiful incense.

Namaste Nikki Image

Quick Facts About Agarwood Oil

You always give such great information about Agarwood on your blog.Thank you so much for sharing.

Vietnam Agarwood

Agarwood 5

Quick Facts About Agarwood Oil

  1. Agarwood is the most rare and precious wood on the planet, prized for its rich, wonderful and healing fragrance.
  2. Agarwood has also been used in nearly every religious tradition around the world and revered for thousands of years by many cultures as the most treasured incense ingredient.
  3. Agarwoods ability to invoke a deep sense of relaxation makes it extremely useful in any aromatherapy session, but is especially effective where anxiety and depression are present.

Agarwood Aquilaria malaccensis in herbal uses 

Is Agarwood Aquilaria malaccensis a herb? How is it application?

Internally for digestive and bronchial complaints, fevers, and rheumatism (bark, wood). Because of its astringent nature, the powdered wood of the aloes tree provide an effective skin tonic and is recommended by Ayurvedic physicians as an application for restoring pigment in leucoderma.

Powdered aloeswood provides an antiseptic so gentle it is used for ear…

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A little bit of Japanese Hanami in Sunny Somerset


The beautiful cherry trees are in full bloom in this little part of Somerset and it really does uplift the spirits as we have been through such a wet winter. As I was looking at the stunning blossom along our cherry tree avenue I did enjoy nature showing me such inspirational beauty among the business of our small town .  I later thought how I could understand the Japanese’s admiration for the wonder of the cherry blossom and plum blossom.


Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers, “flower” in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms (sakura) or plum blossoms (ume).

Blossom and Symbolism

In Japan the Plum Blossom (ume) is known as “The Flower of Peace” and has a very important place in Japanese literature and symbolism.

The cherry blossom (sakura) is a well-known symbol of the end of the winter and the new being of life in the season of spring. Which signifies a great time to start new fresh ventures and appreciate the end of any difficult period .

The blossom of the cherry and plum is extremely fragile and last for such a short time, for the Japanese this signifies the transience condition of existence. This concept ties in very deeply with the important wisdom of Buddhism which often reflects on the temporary nature of life.

Incense and Blossom

Baieido and Shoyeido are two of the best known and long established brands of incense in Japan. Baieido incense established in 1657 and Shoyeido has a long connection with trained incense masters and artisans. Both Incense brands have crafted their interpretation of cherry blossom and plum blossom.

Baieido have created Kobunboku and Kokonoe both in their own way mirror the spring blossom. Kokonoe is definitely the incense if you wish to experience a incense which has a flora undertone. Kobunboku has a certain spicy characteristics and was the first Japanese incense I started with so I have a particular attachment to.

Image      Image


Shoyeido has produced  Kyo-Zakura (Kyoto Cherry blossom) which I have found to have a tart uplifting quality to it and is one of Mikes (the over half of divine-incense.com) preferences .





Japanese Reiki, Rehab and Japanese Incense


Japanese Reiki, Rehab and Japanese Incense

Japanese Reiki, Rehab and Japanese Incense

Japanese Reiki
Reiki found me in 2007 just when i needed it in my life. I discovered Original Japanese Reiki courses being taught close to where i lived, run by one of the Reiki Evolutions experienced teachers.
Previously i had experienced a Chi-Kung projection healing by a TCM Acupuncturist, this had a beneficial profound effect on me and lead me to research and explore more into energy/palm healing techniques, Reiki being the one that resonated with me the most.
I completed my level 3 Shinpiden course in 2008. This was only the beginning, now i had the training tools/techniques i had learnt that the system of Reiki is an ongoing journey of practising the five elements which make up the system of Japanese Reiki. (The precepts, Meditations & Techniques, Hands on Healing [Tenohira], Symbols & Kotodama [sacred sounds/spirit sounds], Reiju empowerments.) The goal to be self realization-your true self.
Reiki has changed my life, i’m positive, calmer, grounded and life doesn’t seem to faze me like before.
I couldn’t wait to treat others too. Family, friends and pets. I soon volunteered at a charity project to offer the amazing benefits of Reiki and also to gain in experience.

For the last few years i have worked carrying out Reiki treatments in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre close to where i live. I normally treat five clients for half an hour each including an initial consultation and time afterwards for feedback.
Clients and myself have found the Reiki experience to be a very beneficial part of their treatment process including easing the discomfort of detoxification & aiding the process. Freeing aches & pains, stress & anxiety reduction to deep relaxation. A lot of clients become so relaxed that they fall asleep on the treatment couch.
I always start from setting the same initial intentions -that it is for their highest good and may they receive what they need. I work from intention and intuition and use a kind of simple freestyle practice utilizing Reiji ho (letting my hands be guided), scanning, Kotodama if a intuitively feel the need to.
Water is always recommended to drink for several days after a treatment to aid the detoxification process.

Japanese Incense
My chosen Japanese Incense for burning whilst treating is Baieido’s Syukohkoku. Syu (Shu) means gather, Koh means incense, Koku means country. The two English translations literally mean “ Gathering of Incense Nations “or “Gathering of Fragrant Countries”.
I find this Incense helps promote deep relaxation and induces a meditative state. Its a ideal accompaniment for Reiki treatments and all the clients seem to love it too.
I’ve observed that the aroma sometimes leans towards the sandalwood component, at other times aloeswood is the dominant role. This is a complex & mysterious fragrance where various notes come in at different times.
The ingredients are Aloeswood, Sandalwood, Cassia and Clove.