Anyone who has heard the carol We Three Kings, or has mooched around their local New Age shop, will have come across Frankincense. This scented resin was one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus, but it had religious significance long before then. The fact that it is such an old substance adds a mysterious quality to Frankincense.
It has been traded for more than 5000 years in Arabian countries and in North Africa. In fact, at one point in history it was as valuable as gold. In Ancient Egypt, Frankincense mixed with vanilla and cinnamon called kyphi, was offered to the Sun God Ra every evening, in the hope that this would encourage him to wake up and begin his journey across the sky.
The early Jews adopted the use of Frankincense, which they mixed with other herbs and presented to God on the Sabbath. In time, the Christians also took Frankincense to their hearts and used it for healing, as well as in religious ceremonies. Frankincense is prized for its uplifting and cleansing qualities, and the ability to aid in driving out negative forces. Inhaling it is claimed to make one open to psychic visions and increased awareness. If you are traveling over the Festive Season, consider taking some Frankincense with you; in resin form it is said to aid a safe journey.