Incense Smoke Meaning: Scrying and Divination Methods

If you’ve ever been curious about scrying — divination through reading smoke or incense — then this post is for you! We’ll explore the basics of how to get started with this practice, including what you’ll need and some key things to keep in mind. So light up some herbs or incense and let’s get started!

Scrying With Smoke & Incense

Reading incense smoke patterns is commonly referred to as libanomancy. But why do practitioners do this? And can you use other herbs, such as rosemary, for smoke scrying? There’s a lot to learn about this practice, but first, let’s talk a bit more about libanomancy.

What Is Libanomancy?

Libanomancy is a divination practice that draws messages from smoke patterns. This scrying method can be performed with incense, candle smoke, or even the smoke from a cleansing herb such as rosemary.

Conversely, capnomancy is the practice of scrying smoke from a fire, such as a candle flame or bonfire.

People have been turning to the mystical practice of smoke scrying for answers long before astrology or tarot card readings were established. This ancient form of divination – dating back centuries and perhaps even millennia – continues to captivate people with its mysterious and mystical ways!

Scrying for Beginners Methods and Devices
Scrying for Beginners Methods and Devices

How To Read Incense Smoke

Whether you’re using incense for meditation, ceremony, or to enjoy the scent, there’s more to it than just watching the smoke waft into the air. Incense smoke can actually tell you a lot about what’s going on energetically just by the color and thickness of the smoke.

Incense Smoke Color Meaning

It’s said that if your smoke is white or light in color that it represents positivity or purity. This indicates a good reading early on. Darker-colored smoke, especially black, often represents negativity or the interception of evil spirits (or even people!) getting in the way of your intention.

Incense Smoke Density Meaning

Smoke that is especially dense or thick can indicate strong energy affecting your reading. This may be a powerful emotion or feeling, or a sign that you have brought a lot of energy with you to this ritual.

If the reading is an omen of things to come, you can determine how serious a situation will be based on the smoke’s density. A thick smoke indicates a serious or widespread event, while the lack of smoke may represent a subtle action that brings forth great change.

Hecate of the Crossroads Incense Recipe
Hecate of the Crossroads Incense Recipe

Burn Speed Meaning

Further information can be pulled by observing the speed at which your incense burns. For example, quickly-burning incense represents high energy. It could mean that whatever is coming your way will be arriving very soon.

Slow-burning incense represents more peaceful energy. This could be delivering a calming message or a sign that blessings are making their way to you, albeit slowly.

Incense Smoke Direction Meanings

In addition to the smoke color, density, and the speed at which it burns, there are even more meanings that can be determined from the direction in which the smoke travels and the patterns formed by the incense smoke.

When you first light your incense, watch closely to see what direction the smoke travels in. Direction can help you to glean a very basic reading and determine if the message is positive or negative.

Straight Up or Down

If your smoke travels straight up when you light your incense, then this is usually accepted as a good sign. Conversely, smoke traveling down is seen as a bad omen.

Be sure to take into account the type of incense you’re using, as some incense cones are made so the smoke intentionally flows downward.

Air Elemental Invocation
Air Elemental Invocation

Smoke Blows Towards or Away From You

Smoke blowing toward you when you light your incense is typically a sign that someone is thinking about you. Smoke blowing away from you may mean that the person is trying to ignore you.

If your query doesn’t involve a person, then smoke blowing toward you is a sign that your manifestation is coming your way. Smoke blowing away is a sign that you need to continue to work harder for your intention to become a reality.

Incense Smoke Pattern Meanings

Once you’ve determined the direction your smoke is traveling, look further to determine if it is forming any sort of shapes or patterns. Recognizing these formations can help you to better determine your incense smoke pattern meaning and strengthen your divination skills.

Smoke Spirals

Spiraling smoke reflects on our spiritual growth. Like smoke moving upward, smoke that spirals up is typically read as though you are making improvements on your spiritual self and on the right path.

Smoke spiraling downward can be read as though you (or something related to your query) are spiraling out of control.

Smoke Forms a Circle

Smoke will form a distinct circle to show you that your intentions are set into motion. When this happens, you can expect that your manifestation is on its way to you soon.

White Sage Alternatives

Smoke Divides Into Two Trails

Smoke will divide into two streams to indicate a crossroads in your life. When this happens, there is an important decision to be made. Perhaps you have been feeling stuck lately. It’s time to stop stalling and choose your path.

Smoke Forms a Symbol or Picture

In unique cases, your incense smoke may create formations that are significant to you, such as spiritual symbols, animals, or faces. When this happens, there is no simple answer to your question. Rather, you must use your intuition to determine how to read these symbols and their significance to you.

More Smoke Scrying Tips & Tricks

  • Before scrying, make time to clear your mind and set up a meditative space that is free of outside distractions.
  • Have a clear intention or question in mind before you begin. This will help to ensure that the messages you receive are clear and relevant.
  • If you’re looking to connect with a spirit or deity, be sure to call them in before you begin. Be sure to use protection whenever working with unfamiliar entities.
  • Make sure the room you’re scrying in is absent of any breezes that may affect the speed and direction of your smoke. If that isn’t possible, take any breeze, draft, or variable into consideration when you interpret your incense smoke.
  • Don’t just stare at one spot while divining! In smoke scrying, your medium is constantly moving and changing shape. Be sure to watch it to see what it does, rather than becoming fixated on one point.
  • Take notes as you go, and compare from session to session. Write down any feelings or predictions you have based on your observations. Over time, review your notes to see what worked for you versus what didn’t. Can you improve your accuracy next time?
  • Be patient! It may take time for you to pick up the various patterns and their meanings, or for you to tune into your intuition. These practices take time to build, so don’t be stressed if it doesn’t work out right away.

Cleanse and Predict

Next time you’re cleansing with incense, take a moment to reflect on the smoke it gives off. What does it look like? How does it move? What do you see in the patterns? With some practice, you might be surprised at what you can glean from this traditional form of divination.

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