Libanomancy: The Art of Reading Incense Smoke

Libanomancy: The Art of Reading Incense Smoke

Burning incense is gaining popularity despite being an ancient practice for centuries.  It is often used to aid in meditation, spiritual and religious ceremonies and practices, or to cleanse and purify an environment.  Not only does incense offer these benefits and smells amazing, not many know that the smoke can provide insight much like the use of pendulums, tea leaf reading, candle reading or runes. Interpreting incense brings a whole new meaning to “smoke and mirrors”, quite the opposite actually.  

A Brief History 

Observing burning incense smoke and ash to read a situation is known as Libanomancy (alternatively known as Capnomancy or Knissomancy) has been long practiced dating back to old Babylonian times as noted in the libanomic manuals where a ceremony was performed by burning cedar. 

From Mesopotamia, libanomancy traveled to Egypt and later became know in Europe.  The Celts engaged in dendromancy by burning oak or mistletoe, being that mistletoe is one of the sacred plants in European folklore.

In it’s original form, libanomancy was a type of “omen oracle” where the practitioner executing the divination would seek answers directly from the divine.  The type of omen was associated with the configuration of the smoke. It is estimated that there are up to 32 omens or “laws of the divine world order” that could be interpreted.  

This form of divination includes interpreting the smoke as well as the ashes of the incense and where a specific question is asked.  This is done by looking into the movements of the smoke and observing the directions and formation of it.  The configuration of the smoke can show if the energy in the room is clean or needs purifying, reveal a good or bad omen, give insight to success or simply answer yes or no to a question.  

Before You Start Reading

Before doing a reading there are a few things to do to prepare.  You’ll want to make sure there are no outside forces that could interfere with the reading such as a draft from a window or air blowing.  Consider using a towel under the door to stop drafts and disabling the air flow.  If it’s your first time reading be sure to be thinking clearly and have an open mind.  Accepting the good and the bad will lead you to clear answers.  It’s important to focus on your question. By holding it in your mind, and not let other thoughts cloud you as they could interfere with the outcome.  These are the best practices to ensure you are interpreting the smoke correctly and build on your divination skills.   

Room Energy

If the smoke is burning in a straight, thin line upwards signifies heavy energy in a room and should be cleansed.  The density of the energy is pushing on the smoke not allowing for the smoke to move freely.  When a room is cleansed and the energy is starting to clear, it is creating more space for the smoke so it will flow more openly. 

Yes or No

Start by concentrating on the question you are seeking an answer to, relax and observe the smoke.  Smoke rising straight up without deviating is “yes”.  If the smoke breaks up into uneven pieces or sways left or right, this is interpreted as a definite “no”.  Alternatively, if the smoke is breaking up into rings this can mean the situation you are asking about may not turn out as you expected.   

Interpreting Success

Concentrate on your question related to success and observe the smoke.  If the smoke moves to the right this means you will be successful.  If the smoke moves to the left there will be no success.  Smoke that forms a cloud and clusters together but stays connected to the line of smoke can also symbolize success (think of the cloud of smoke representing abundance).  If the cloud disconnects from the cloud of smoke, expect difficulties or barriers to reaching success. 

Good or Bad Omens

You can use the smoke to identify if there is an energy, either good or bad, that has attached itself to you or an entity in your home. Hold your question in your mind and focus on the smoke.  Smoke moving right is a good omen and smoke moving left is a bad omen.  If the smoke rises but appears choppy it is a foreshadow to a troubling situation.  Smoke that breaks off into even, beautiful lines represents the amount of people that will work well for your situation but if the streams of smoke are uneven and inconsistent then that’s a sign of illness coming into your life. 

Other Considerations  

Sometimes you may see shapes, numbers or faces.  There are also important to note in a reading as they contribute to the overall answer.  Numbers represent the amount of days your outcome will manifest. A symbol, such as the symbol of infinity signifies a good, powerful shift that changes your life, where as seeing shapes or pictures signifies danger coming and you should seek protection.  If you see a face appear, note how that face makes you feel when you see it.  This requires your intuition to provide you with more information.  When in doubt you can follow up your interpretations with tarot or pendulum to solidify the answer. 

The Universe wants you to always be in forward motion so using libanomacy to seek answers to questions allows you to connect with the divine and gain insight while strengthening your divination skills.