A variety of resins and saps are used in witchcraft. Their uses abound. People spend a lot of money buying special resins from far away places, but most regions have everything you’d need. So browse the list, and if you have things that are more easily available in your area, consult your elders/mentors about substitutions. Just make sure it’s actually going to do the job.
Almond gum is often used in place of mastic. It is calming to the stomach, and in moderation, it helps children who are sometimes picky eaters, to put on weight by easing their digestion, and helping them to get the most of their food. Too much, and it has the opposite effect, and can lead to nutrient disorders.
It also helps the body to cool itself. It is a wonder in this way for people who live in hot climates. It prevents the depression and malaise that some lighter skinned people feel in the summer. In India, it is often drank with milk, rosewater, or added to ice creams and sorbets. For this, it should be soaked overnight.
You can find it by searching for badam pisin. Be mindful that there is a big difference between the sweet almond (Prunis dulcis) gum and the “Indian almond” (Terminalia catappa) gum. The Indian almond or “Desi badam” gum is very toxic, and should only be used as incense. Its color is somewhat more reddish, and its scent sweeter. They have completely different magickal properties as well.
Sweet almond gum facilitates peace and harmony. It cools and relaxes. It is great for very humane spirits, and for situations wherein angry or frustrated people need cooling off. It can be very compelling in that way. It also opens people to receive good things. So if you have a sick pet who is refusing treatment, burning some as incense can help them to make them a little less resistant.
Indian almond gum and even its seeds and leaves kill parasites. Its magickal properties revolve around destroying things that don’t belong. Use this with much care but decisiveness. To drive bad energy out of a person, dip one of the leaves in their drink for just a second, or give them a bath with one of the leaves in it. You can also use them in your fish tank as a water conditioner if you have fish that are vulnerable to parasites.
If you have almond trees around, just explore them occasionally for oozing sap. Put a bag over your hands and pick it off.
Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba)
Also called the “incense tree” or “palo chino”, it’s commonly found in somewhat tropical areas. Trees in the same family have similar vibration, but not exactly the same. So if you don’t have an indigenous or trained elder to guide you, get to know the tree well before harvesting any of its bark or sap.
Gumbo limbo is used in healing almost everywhere it grows and people remember. It’s good for reducing swelling, snake bite, and curing urinary tract infections. If you’ve got a bad sunburn, boil some of the bark in sweet water, let it cool, and gently paint your skin with the water. Raw, it smells and tastes kind of like turpentine, but as an incense, it is very pleasant, and similar to frankincense and myrrh mixed. However, it is a more suitable substitute for mastic.
Nobody is selling this except for industrial use, so if you want any, you have to harvest it yourself. Take some freshly fallen bark, or look around the trunk for injured places to take some clumps from. Its various properties, including but not limited to the texture of its bark, make it a good smoke offering to fire and reptilian deities.
If you have friendly pine trees around, you can use their resin in recipes to sustain positive things. It is cleansing and purifying, but it is also enduring. A more aggressive and lesser known use for pine is to hold things steady or keep them in place. If you have a good thing going, and don’t want it to change, burn an incense with pine. If someone is having wide mood swings, it’s good for steadying them too.
Different kind of pine trees have different properties. Firs have an adapting through changes energy, while spruces have a more staying in place and weathering the storms kind of energy.
Cypress oozes oils from almost all its parts, so there is no need for more processing than chopping. It is very healing, and is great for helping people to recover from injuries or traumas. Its “cones” are round like the moon, and it seems to give off a special scent at night.
It is very good for women who have been through a rough relationship, and need to move past some of the bad things that happened to them. It’s good for men this way too, but it has a very feminine energy, so overexposure may lead to too much passivity during the phase of grief when men need to have those bursts of anger to get past the past.
The sap from the banyan tree is very masculine, and in fact, helps men to maintain their virility and stamina. Three drops in the morning juice or yogurt, and you’re good. It brings good luck, and has the energy of shading or shielding from harm.
It is good to use the leaves as plates for offerings to deities of fortune and protection. Burn the bark or powdered wood as incense to designate a safe place or to help a shelter be more of a shelter.