The Why Of It
We use incense because it stimulates our senses; in this case our sense of smell. Even in our every day life, we have certain scents that remind us of a events, person, or things in our life. Symbolism during ritual is important for our connection to our Ancestors and Deity. Roses for instance remind me of my mother and grandmother.
Incense brings our mind into a state of relaxation and focus. Of course the scent of the incense does matter for how relaxed and focused you can be. A scent that you don't particularly like isn't going to help you as much as one that you do like.
Depending on the scent, incense doesn't always relax and focus you. Scents that invigorates your body and mind can be used when you need a high amount of energy during your magickal works.
For me, the scent I choose cannot be overpowering. Strong smells often give me a headache. So I stay away from incense that are overpowering and smell like musk or very fruity.
Sandlewood is a particular favorite of my husbands. Over the years I've gotten use to the smell, but it's not one I choose for myself. I'd rather use jasmine, rose, or some other flowery scent.
When to use incense?
I don't often keep incense on my altar, only because I burn sage on the altar and I don't like the mix of the two. I find it unnecessary. However I do use incense when I am meditating or doing a psychic reading. It can also be burned when cleansing the home. Often when I am cleaning I will choose a scent that is invigorating, to help give me energy while working.
Different scents can have different meanings attributed to them. To see a list of those meanings, visit the Incense Correspondence Table.
What do you use Incense for? Is there a particular scent you use more than others?