Incense has been widely used across many religious practices for centuries, with the oldest recorded use dating back to 2000 BC in China. The significance of incense lies in its ability to uplift our senses and intensify spiritual connections.
Today, we continue to use incense in religious gatherings and privately in meditation. As well, more practical uses such as aromatics for our homes and to create relaxing spaces such as in spas and yoga studios.
There are various ingredients of plants and resins that can be used for making incense. Each holds its own spiritual significance, making them useful for different scenarios and to reap specific benefits.
For a universally beneficial incense, we like to keep Copal incense sticks on hand - an incense predominantly recognized thanks to ancient Mayans and Aztecs of Central and South America. Copal is a gentle smelling incense that delivers uplifting and inspiring energy.
Before choosing to work with copal incense in your practices, it is important to know the history of copal and the process it takes to become the burnable incense we seek to use in our homes and practices.
In this post, discover the uses of copal incense sticks, and copal incense benefits for both the spiritually attuned and those looking to create a relaxing space.
Table of Contents
- What is Copal Incense?
- Copal Incense Meaning and History
- How Copal Resin Incense is Made
- Copal Incense Benefits
- What is Copal Incense Used For?
- Buying Copal Incense Sticks
- Key Takeaways
What is Copal Incense?
Copal is a resin collected from the trees of the Burseraceae family in warm climate regions. Including Central and South America, parts of Africa, and Southeast Asian countries.
Nicknamed “the Incense Trees”, it is the same family of trees that give us Frankincense, Myrrh, and Palo Santo.
||Frankincense and myrrh|
What sets copal resin apart is its particular physical make-up. It is denser than a smooth sap but has not aged to a fossilized state such as solid amber. Landing only at 2 on the Mohs scale for mineral hardness, the texture and appearance of copal would be comparable to frankincense resin.
When copal is turned into copal incense sticks, it serves many spiritual purposes. Traditionally, it is known for its use in Mayan and Aztec ceremonies as an offering and energy cleanser.
Now, we can also embrace its spiritual and health benefits through enhancing meditation and cleansing our own energies.
What Does Copal Smell Like?
Copal incense is known for smelling lightly aromatic. Giving off a gentle smoke, this incense will be easy to incorporate regularly. Especially for those who are sensitive to strong scents.
Sourced from the Burseraceae tree family, copal incense carries a similar scent of wood and can be compared to frankincense. However, copal carries an essence that is a bit muskier.
When burning copal incense you can expect:
- A mellow aroma
- Hints of earthy pine
- Gently sweet and warm notes
What Does Copal Incense Look Like?
There are three main colors of copal resin that can be collected. Ranging from black to gold, and white.
However, the mixture of resin and other natural plant ingredients that is used for the incense will create a grey color. You can expect this for both copal incense sticks and cones.
Copal Incense Meaning and History
Named by the ancient Aztecs as “Blood of the Trees”, copal incense has become known as a spiritually connected tool for use in sweat lodges and other ceremonies.
The Aztecs and Mayans had many uses for copal as it is a fairly malleable resin. It has been recorded that copal resin was not only burned as incense but also used as glue for creating masks and even adorning their teeth with gemstones.
In other parts of the world, copal resin was used as glue and varnish in furniture making.
The name copal is derived from the word Copalli from the Nahuatl language. This was the language spoken by the Aztecs for centuries prior to Spanish arrival in what is now Mexico.
Translating to "incense", or more specifically "scented smoke", copal is a generic term that ended up sticking to describe this particular material used by the Mayans, Aztecs people, and other groups around the world. When it comes to copal incense meaning, today we use the word copal to describe the particular resin used to make copal incense.
The Mayan story of creation, found in the Popol Vuh, references copal and its arrival on this Earth. It describes how the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars brought copal down to Earth, signifying the spiritual importance in this culture’s practices.
How Copal Resin Incense is Made
Typically, incense is made of dried organic materials that are dampened to roll onto a stick or into a cone.
But how do we make incense out of resin?
Since it is sticky like a sap when it is harvested, copal resin requires a few more steps to become an incense stick that will smoothly and evenly burn when rolled into an incense stick.
Copal resin must first be boiled to refine it to its purest state. This will rise to the top and then be moved to cold water to harden it slightly into a malleable form.
From here it can be shaped into cylinders around a stick, with one more consideration…
LotsofZen's Copal Resin Incense Sticks are combined with dried natural plant ingredients that are relevant to the resin source to maintain the purest and most accurate scent. You can consider it as a binding to hold the incense together.
Copal Incense Benefits
Copal incense can serve us in a variety of spiritual settings. We can tap into its benefits during ceremonial gatherings or in meditation to align with our chakra system and cleanse our aura energy. Even casual use can bring us to a calming state.
Here we’ll review some of the top benefits of burning copal incense:
Clear Energy Blocks
One of the most popular benefits of copal incense is its ability to clear our auras of energy blocks.
Energy blocks hold us back in multiple ways throughout our aura bodies. They can present as physical and cognition problems, or in our lives preventing us from achieving goals and opening up to abundance.
Burn copal incense with the intention of removing any blockages. You may say an affirmation or smudging prayer out loud to create focus on any blocks in your body.
Copal incense pushes for balance in energies.
Believed to have come to earth from the Sun, Moon, and the Stars, copal incense holds a connection to the universe that we can’t see. At the same time, being composed of plant materials, copal is rooted in grounded energy through its direct connection to the Earth.
Burn copal incense to find your center between spiritual connection and reliable grounding.
A strong intuition is our key to making decisions with our best interests in mind. When used in our meditation practices, copal incense pushes us to recognize our intuition.
The benefits of a strong intuition include knowing when someone or something isn’t meant for us, having accurate predictions to outcomes, as well as fueling our creativity.
Using copal incense to strengthen intuition will help you navigate any task, project, or problem at hand.
Calm The Nervous System
Spiritually speaking, copal incense carries uplifting and positive energy. We can also account for the wooded scent copal brings as a reminder to our senses of the relaxing essence of nature.
Through the olfactory system, we can experience the full-body relaxation that copal incense brings about through calming of the nervous system. When the aroma reaches our brains, it triggers a reduction of processes that will alleviate stress and anxiety.
Use copal incense in the morning to prepare for your tasks ahead, or at the end of your day for a seamless transition into sleep.
Strengthen the Mind
Already acting as an aid in relieving anxiety, copal incense works even further to fortify the mind, therefore strengthening our thought processes and emotions.
Producing the opportunity for deep states of meditation, burning copal incense helps us reach within ourselves to find the courage and strength we need to see the world differently.
Don’t let inconveniences and troubles get in your way. Handle daily and abrupt stressors as they arrive with a secure mindset by burning copal incense.
What is Copal Incense Used For?
Apart from the traditional use as an offering in ancient Mayan and Aztec culture, copal incense continues to be seen in Mexican traditions and ceremonies and has been adopted into use for personal spiritual practices. Copal incense is most commonly used in the form of incense sticks. You can also find cones or pellets that are burned on top of a charcoal disc.
Copal incense’s appearance at Mayan and Aztec ruins of ceremonial and burial grounds solidifies its spiritual relevance. Although the truth behind their use of the copal resin can only be assumed by records passed down through time and uncovered artifacts, there is a confident belief in its role as an offering.
Today, an appropriate homage to the roots of copal incense is as an offering to ancestors. It can be a life-changing path to seek life guidance from our ancestors. However, communication with them isn’t as easy as asking.
Showing respect and understanding for your culture is an important component to reaching out to ancestors. Whether you desire to work together or simply pay your respects, copal incense might be an option for you.
For heavy spiritual work, one may choose to burn copal incense as an offering to Gods. Specifically, the Aztec God Tlaloc and the Goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, who are known to appreciate being gifted copal. This God and Goddess are rulers of fertility. Historically known for supporting the townspeople and their crops, now one could seek these two when needing assistance with growth and creation.
Copal incense can be burned to help access a deeper state while in meditation. The copal incense activates the crown chakra, which strengthens our connection to the true self and with higher guidance.
When meditating, we can use copal incense to work out and remove energy blocks within our aura bodies. This will relieve us of stressors that weigh us down and prevent us from reaching our manifestations in life.
You can expect to feel a heightened intuition which promotes our creativity in personal work and projects. In addition, copal incense encourages a clear mind with positive thoughts that easily guide us in approaching our endeavors.
Smoke cleansing is a popular method for warding off negative and stagnant energy within spaces and items. When paired with intention, copal incense can be used for cleansing our aura bodies, the energy within our homes, and the spiritual items we bring into our practice.
For cleansing of the body’s spiritual energy, take some time to bask in the smoke of the incense. This can be done in-depth with a full meditation, or simply taking a few moments to breathe and set the intention of cleansing.
To cleanse a room or your home, you will need to walk around your rooms with your incense to fill each space with the smoke. Make sure to reach into corners and around windows and doors. Prepare a few words of intention you can say out loud as you walk the house, or say the words repeatedly in your thoughts.
Another consideration for cleansing is items. To avoid bringing to our practices any negative or conflicting energies, cleanse items upon bringing them home and most importantly before attempting to use or work with anything. This may be your divination tools such as tarot, energetic pieces such as crystals, or even containers that will be used at altars.
Day of The Dead
It is common to see copal incense burning at homemade altars and graves during Mexico’s El Dia De Los Muertos. Filling homes and trailing along the streets with its gentle scented smoke.
This important Mexican holiday is a 2-day event dedicated to friends and family who have passed on. Although themed around death, it is far from feeling mournful. Instead, everyone chooses to come together to pay their respects in a large celebration of life. Remembering souls with love and joy.
With copal’s roots in Mayan culture as offerings at burial sites, it makes sense that people today would want to honor their loved ones with a symbol of such cultural and spiritual significance. Burning of copal incense on Day of the Dead will also cleanse and lift the energy for clearer contact with the spirit world - making for a significant element to include in an altar.
Buying Copal Incense Sticks
Copal incense is a wonderful addition to any spiritual practice. With its versatility in benefits and uses, this gentle aroma is practical and can be easily worked into regular meditations and cleansings.
We care about the environment and encourage the use of ingredients that are authentic and ethically sourced. Purchasing your copal incense from a reputable seller is important for ensuring a naturally made product.
That’s why our LotsofZen Natural Resin Copal Incense Sticks are:
- Free of Chemicals
- Made of 100% plant-based ingredients
- Safe to your health
- Ethically harvested in Indonesia
- Long-lasting with 1 hour burn time
- Includes 3x the amount of sticks as other brands
Get the most enjoyment out of copal incense that is produced authentically and naturally.
Click here to add Copal Incense to your spiritual practice.
We can include copal incense into an array of uses from our spiritual practices to overall health and wellbeing.
Below is a review of the important things to know when choosing to use copal incense sticks:
- Copal resin is harvested in various warm climates around the world
- Sourced from the same trees as frankincense, burning copal resin delivers a gentle sweet scent of wood
- Although the resin comes in 3 different colors, the final product of copal incense is grey
- The burning of copal incense holds huge spiritual importance in Mexico and South America
- Resin is mixed with natural ingredients to create copal incense sticks
- Copal incense benefits include removing energy blocks, calming the nervous system, strengthening the mind, promoting intuition, and creating balance
- Copal incense is seen being used as an offering, in meditation, for cleansing rituals, and is a popular choice during Mexico’s Day Of The Dead
- Purchase copal incense sticks that are produced with authentically natural ingredients for your best experience!