Grinding resin (and my patience).


You already know that all the incense Nor’Eastern Herb Company, LLC sells is blended, mixed, and rolled into cones by hand.  What you might not know is the herbs and resins used in every incense cone must be ground into powder so the cones have a smooth, even burn.  Very few herbs are available powered but the hardest ingredient to tackle is resin.

Resin is produced naturally by plants and trees with Frankincense, Copal, Dragon’s Blood, and Myrrh being some the most popular and well known.  When purchasing resins, they most often come in what are called “tears”.  These are small irregular orbs that can range from the size of a small pea to a raspberry.  The orbs are hard in texture and can become very sticky if there is any moisture (including a very humid day).

Let me be very clear about something: grinding resin into power is no fun.  It takes (seemingly) forever, makes a mess, your carpal tunnel kicks in, and you feel like you lose half of the resin you started with.

Grinding Frankincense tears into powder.

So why do I do it then?

Because it matters.  Yeah, it’s really that simple.

It would be so easy to throw all my herbs and resins into an electric spice grinder and whip out big batches of incense without hesitating, but there is so much lost on that path.  It becomes mindless mass-production and completely looses the heart and soul of what the resin and herb allies have to share with us.  Having such an arduous process of grinding resins by hand makes me slow down.  I have to really carve out time for each step and commit myself to seeing it through.  There is no shortcut, no stopping halfway, no putting it off until tomorrow.  Every moment becomes a conscious decision, reaffirming my personal commitment to the items I create.

Hand-Rolled Incense • Litha

I’d love to tell you that I have transcended the upper arm workout and find grinding resins to meditative but honestly, I’m not quite there yet.  I can tell you that I am enjoying it more each time and do take the opportunity to energetically infuse the resin while it breaks down.  I will speak into the resin, quietly chant a mantra, or channel Reiki during the process.  These occasions become an integral part of the final incense cone and their energetic properties begin in these moments.

Like I said before, I take this extra step because it matters.  I work hard to create items that honor and embrace the spirit and energy of every ingredient.  I take immense pride in sharing the love, support, comfort, and encouragement of resins and herbs and I know it can be felt in all the Nor’Eastern Herb Company, LLC products.

I’d like to encourage you to take an extra step next time you start a new project.  Feel yourself invest in what you’re creating and open yourself to connecting with the process on an emotional level.  Infuse your own energy, intentions, and mantras into every step, every ingredient, every moment.  I guarantee you’ll find it matters.

Love & light, Kristen

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