Kyphi – An Ancient Spiritual Incense

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Kyphi – An Ancient Spiritual Incense

An image from Egypt depicting a scale & ingredients- pic via

An image from Egypt depicting a scale & ingredients- pic via

Kyphi is an incense or perfume made by Egyptian priests to honour the Gods. Here’s an exerpt from my book, Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils;

“Kyphi has always fascinated me. Even the word makes my heart skip a beat. The word Kyphi is understood as the Greek interpretation of the Egyptian term kp.t. This is a holy incense created by the priests of Egypt – at least a few hundred years before the common era (BCE or BC), but possibly up to 4000 years ago.

Lists of ingredients were found in inscriptions at the Temples of Edfu and Dendera on the West Bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt. Even so, many different variations on the recipe of this sacred perfume are claimed to exist but most agree that the common ingredients were honey, raisins and wine. Some say it was made of 16 ingredients and others claim up to 36.

Honey, raisin, wine, cinnamon and/or cassia, frankincense, myrrh, juniper, cedarwood, cyperus root and sweet flag, mastic, amber, benzoin and labdanum (gums and resins), aspalathos, camel grass, mint and others may have contributed to it’s magical nature.

Plutach the Greek historian, biographer and essayist wrote about the preparation of Kyphi stating:

     “these are compounded, not at random, but while sacred  writingsare being read to the perfumers as they mix the ingredients”.

Mortar and pestle - so alchemical!

Mortar and pestle – so alchemical !

The priest held the intention of the prayers and sacred poems in their entire being as the perfume was mixed. This illustrates the power of intention at work in its finest form. The incense preparation was used as a temple offereingto the Gods so it was necessary to make it in a holy space with a complete energy of divinity. As the incense was burnt in the evening, the message to the Gods was pure.”

The use of the ingredients of Kyphi was methodical

The use of the ingredients of Kyphi was methodical

I love that it was a very methodical procedure. When I make body oils or perfumes, and I’m using a standard recipe it is very important to me to make sure I add the oils in the same order they have been listed in on the recipe. It doesn’t seem like it would make a difference but it does!

When I first started studying aromatherapy my teacher had us all make the same body oil. Of course we all added the drops of the varying oils at different times, and guess what … yep each oil actually smelled different.

And you can understand why I always talk about intention when you are blending – even if you are just chucking oils into a vapouriser, have good thoughts, it will make a difference.

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copryright SR Banks 2014

Myrrh – A Healing Resin of Old

myrrh resin pic via

myrrh resin pic via

Myrrh. Whenever I say this oil in my head it sounds like merr-er-er. Just like Steve Martin’s character in the movie “The Man with Two Brains”, Dr Hfuhruhurr. I can’t help it. I’ve created a permanent synapse in my brain, that pronounces myrrh like Hfurhruhurr (except with an M). I don’t really use myrrh very much and maybe this is the reason.

I do however, use myrrh as an oil of abundance – a little goes a long way. Just like frankincense, myrrh is a resin in its natural state and then it’s steam distilled to produce an essential oil. In all bottles of myrrh that I’ve owned, before too long the cap is often stuck to the bottle with the dried oil – it wants to revert back to its original form. This never happens with frankincense which is quite a thin oil. Look how similar the trees are – they are from the same family, Burseraceae, but a different genus. Myrrh is from Commiphora, and frankincense is from the Boswellia genus.

myrrh tree pic via

myrrh tree pic via

frankincense tree pic via

frankincense tree pic via

Myrrh is native to parts of Africa and still revered as a great healer. We know of stories in the bible which tells us that this resin has been used for centuries. Like many of the older plants and oils, myrrh is also noted in ancient Egypt as an important ingredient in the holy incense kyphi, and the temples of Jerusalem in the incense of ketoret. I’ve just written about spikenard (see my article Spikenard – an Essential Oil with a Rich History and a Heady Scent), which appears in the same texts and was also an ingredient in these ceremonial incenses.

With its amazing qualities of healing and preservation you can see why the Egyptians used myrrh in embalming. If it’s hardening on the lid of my oil bottle then it’s working that way when embalming a body!

Egyptian mummy

Egyptian mummy

Myrrh is a great wound healer and works really well with gum disease and mouth ulcers. I would use myrrh in an oil blend with a client to add dimension to the scent and to address fears of lack, and a general feeling of being unsupported. I love myrrh to stimulate healing from past hurts and to help someone gain strength to continue in life.

A drop of oil can be essential

A drop of myrrh may be all you need

In aromatherapy today myrrh is used for –

* gum disease

* deep cracks n the heels

* chronic wounds that wont heal

* to reduce mucous in coughs and bronchitis

* as a meditative oil to connect to spirit

* to help with period pain and for use in childbirth

Embrace myrrh as an oil to support you in your connection to the divine. Be sparing with myrrh in your oil formulations as a little goes a long way.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013