Oh f**k me, churches across Britain may be about to get the oxygen sucked from their prayers! The new Psychoactive Substances Bill before Parliament, is designed to ban all ‘legal highs’, making it a criminal offence to sell ‘any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect’, which incense can. The Association of English Cathedrals, along with the Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service is urging ministers to make ‘specific exemption’ for incense, for incense has an important symbolic role. Vicars argue the smoke represents the presence of God, prayers, the rising to God, and the offering of gifts and lives, as a sacrifice to God. In essence, incense is used to enhance the worship experience in much the same way Ecstasy enhances the experience at a rave!
Despite the fact I’m a practicing atheist, I too am concerned about the possible banning of incense. Ever since my cat flea infestation of 2012, I rely upon incense in the summer months to keep all flying insects out of my house! I use a variety of ‘holy’ incense, including Frankincense, Pontifical blend incense, The Kings incense and Cedars of Lebanon incense. Why I’ve even tried burning the Monastic blends, which include the Byzantine blend, sweet Myrrh, the Archangel Michael blend and the Queen of Heaven Supreme blend. My favourites remain Frankincense for its pine, lemony and woody aroma, and Myrrh for its richness and greater depth of pong. Wonderful basenotes too! It must be said, although my house smells like a brothel-keeper’s workplace, burning incense does keep the flies away. I’m never ever bitten! Of course it takes all winter to get rid of the bloody smell. Then it starts all over again the flowing summer! Banning incense makes no sense and would be insensitive to the needs of the Church…and me!