The Fire of Azrael

Roderick mentioned that sandalwood, cedar, and juniper he asked be added to the Beltane fire was basically the recipe for the Fire of Azrael.

I’d never heard of this fire before and, frankly, it sounds a bit over-witchy to me, like something you’d see the Scooby Gang resort to on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  So I did a bit of research.  Apparently Dion Fortune described a fire built out of sandalwood, cedar wood, and juniper wood in her novel, The Sea Priestess.  In her novel, inhaling the smoke from these three woods is conducive towards psychic visions.

It seems that pagans have really taken this combination up.  There are several “Fire of Azrael” incenses to be found, and Scott Cunningham even offers up the following recipe in his book The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews:

1 part Sandalwood
1 part Cedar
1 part Juniper

Burn while scrying, or throw onto the coals of a fire once the flames have been quenched and gaze into them to see images form within them.  The latter rite is best performed on a beach at night.  Fire of Azrael incense is also used as a general psychism-inducing incense. (page 68)

I believe that Cunningham’s lack of description meant that he assumed that the woods would all be used in this incense, but various recipes now abound calling for things like 1/2 ounce of sandalwood chips, 1/2 ounce of juniper berries, and 1/2 ounce cedarwood oil or 1 part sandalwood chips, 1 part cedar wood chips, and 1 part juniper needles.  The latter is reported to “smoke like a locamotive” and to be especially great for outdoor rituals.

So I guess that’s the Fire of Azrael.  Hardly anything terribly esoteric.

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