Incense Fact Sheet

Incense is aromatic biotic material that releases fragrant smoke when burned. The term is used for either the material or the aroma. Incense is used for aesthetic reasons, aromatherapy, meditation, and ceremony. 


A single batch of Clear Light’s Cedar & Piñon Incense takes 185 hours, almost 8 days, to make from fermentation of the cedar tea to three days drying in the New Mexico sun. Made using the original 1971 recipe created by Clear Light’s founder Joshua Peine.


Incense is composed of aromatic plant materials combined with essential oils. Incense recipes are carefully guarded trade secrets for companies like us. The forms taken by incense differ with the underlying culture. 


The word incense comes from Latin incendere meaning "to burn.”


Incense can generally be separated into two main types: "indirect-burning" and "direct-burning". Indirect-burning incense (or "non-combustible incense") is not capable of burning on its own, and requires a separate heat source. Direct-burning incense (or "combustible incense") is lit directly by a flame and then fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smolders and releases a smoky fragrance. Direct-burning incense is either a paste formed around a bamboo stick, or a paste that is extruded into a stick or cone shape.


We make our incense directly from the piñon pine’s pitch, the sap that drips down the tree trunks of the fragrant pinion pine; no hidden ingredients, charcoals, or perfumes. That’s how we get our incense to smell just like you’ve crushed the cedar tree’s needles between your fingertips, releasing the honey-like yet earthy scent. 


Direct-burning incense, also called "combustible incense" is lit directly by a flame. The glowing ember on the incense will continue to smolder and burn the rest of the incense without further application of external heat or flame. This class of incense is made from a moldable substrate of fragrant finely ground (or liquid) incense materials and odorless binder. The composition must be adjusted to provide fragrance in the proper concentration and to ensure even burning. 


The following types are hand-made at our Urban Farm Store:

  • Cone: Incense in this form burns relatively quickly. Incense cones were invented in Japan in the 1800s.
  • Cored stick: A supporting core of bamboo is coated with a thick layer of incense material that burns away with the core. We use a hand hewn Cedar core.
  • Log (Spirit Stick): Are made to burn longer and fill larger areas with the amazing scent of Cedar & Piñon. Logs are used in the lobby of the award winning Hotel Tamaya - a Hyatt Regency Hotel located on the pueblo of Santa Ana.


New Mexico Cedar is said to have a masculine, protective energy, and is used in spells of cleansing and prosperity. Cedar berries are popular in good luck charms, while the leaves are often used for smudging. New Mexico Cedar is best used for blessing a new venture or dwelling, and inviting in abundance.


Clear Light’s incense is made with the all-natural wood of the Piñon and Cedar trees. Burning of this natural wood provides a healthier environment as opposed to incense made with synthetic chemicals. Use the Cedar & piñon to bring about a sense of calm and positive energy. Great for relaxation, meditation, yoga, prayer and much more!


All our products are manufactured by hand in New Mexico.