Egyptian Kyphi Incense Recipe
Adapted from Incense, Rituals, Mystery, and Lore, by Gina Hyams (Chronicle Books, 2004).
Sweet Dreams, Egyptian Style
The most sacred of the ancient Egyptian incenses was called Kyphi, or “Welcome to the Gods.” High priests concocted Kyphi during secret, chant-filled temple ceremonies. The incense was said to consist of “things that delight in the night.” Green historian Plutarch (A.D. 46-120) wrote that smelling Kyphi was like “listening to beautiful music.” He also described it as having the power to “rock a person to sleep, brighten dreams, and chase away the troubles of the day.”
A great many recipes for making Kyphi exist. The following is an intoxicating yet easy-to-make version.
1/2 teaspoon frankincense
1 tablespoon red wine
1/2 teaspoon benzoin
1 teaspoon sandalwood
1/4 teaspoon myrrh
1/4 teaspoon juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon dragon’s blood
1/4 teaspoon orris root
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Soak the raisins in the red wine overnight.
Using a mortar and pestle, individually grind the sandalwood, juniper berries, orris root, and cinnamon. In a large wooden or ceramic bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
Using a mortar and pestle, individually pulverize the frankincense, benzoin, myrrh, and dragon’s blood into small granules. Add the resins and gums to the powder mixture.
Drain the red wine from the raisins and mash the raisins with the mortar and pestle. Add the raisins and honey to the dough. Knead thoroughly with your hands, then form the dough into pea-sized balls. Spread the balls out on wax paper and store them indoors away from direct sunlight and moisture. Turn the balls daily for one to two weeks, depending on the climate. Once they are dry, store your Kyphi balls in a sealed plastic bag or glass jar. Smolder the incense balls one or two at a time over charcoal.
Adapted from Incense, Rituals, Mystery, and Lore, by Gina Hyams (Chronicle Books, 2004).Egyptian Kyphi Incense Recipe,