Since there appears to be some mention going around on FB about incense I thought I would write up a description of what I like to use for incense for Apollon. First and foremost I must acknowledge the importance of laurel nobilis, or bay laurel. Laurel has a historic relationship with Apollon derived from his love for Daphne in myth. Laurel has been used by the Pythia, as a branch was held in one hand during her sessions. It has been awarded to contest victors. The burning of laurel is perhaps the best choice of incense for Apollon. The drawback is that in some regions it is a little more difficult to get ahold of genuine bay leaves. What is typically sold in the stores is a tree with a similar scent and taste as bay leaf, but of an entirely different species native of california. This makes it a cheap spice to use in cooking for a similar effect in cooking, bute entirely useless to use as an incense substitute in my opinion.
Second to laurel nobilis, I use frankincense. Sadly I am resorting at this time to using incense sticks since I need to restock my supply of good quality frankincense resin. I used to have a considerable amount but one of my boxes didn’t make it through the post when I moved states. Frankincense, as indicated by the Orphic hymn to Apollon, is used in worship of Apollon. To personalize it I have blended Frankincense with other incenses such as sandalwood, rose, and amber.
I have used the latter three, along with citrus scents and sunflower oil in private prayer without formal ritual when I am just feeling to do something different. I typically am drawn t warm spicey scents to use in honor of Apollon with an airy undertone rather than being overly robust. But that is entirely UPG.
In the place of incense in daily prayer I have on occassion gathered flowers from the garden and placed them on his altar in a offering directly from nature. This offering is not only pleasing in scent but also is beautiful as a decorative gift for the god to adorn his altar. I particularly chose yellow, orange, red and white flowers, and blue (though usually the blue flowers I choose such as the forget -me-nots are not scented). Smell is a very important part of one’s religious experience and one that I find particular pleasing and after a long session in prayer, sometimes rather potent.