The Beauty of God's Creation!
The Beauty of God's Creation!
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Glory to God For All Things!
If you have large pieces of charcoal, you can break them in half (or quarters), this way you will not waste your charcoal. Holding the piece of charcoal with tongs, light the charcoal (it begins to throw off some sparks, so be careful) and place it in your incense burner. When the charcoal turns white in color, it is ready for the incense. You can then place a couple of pieces (or a small spoonful) of incense on top (or on the side, as a monk told me) of the charcoal to burn. If you place too much incense on the coal, you may smother it, and the coal will burn out.
If you are using the Charcoal Powder, open package carefully to avoid spilling. Place a heaping spoonful of charcoal powder in your censer, and light it with a grill lighter or a thin candle holding it there for 5-10 seconds. Wait a few minutes until all powder starts glowing with a white ashen look. Sometimes, blowing gently over the powder will accelerate the lighting. Place a few pieces of incense on top. The next time you use your censer, do not throw away old ashes. Scoop out ashes from center of the censer to form a small cavity, and fill with a spoonful of new powder. If you have never used charcoal powder before, some extra patience will be needed. It does not light as quickly as the charcoal discs. Keep the charcoal sealed, as moisture will affect the ability for it to light.
If your incense arrives soft and stuck together from the heat during shipping, you can place the incense in your freezer to get hard. Then, take it out and tap the bag on a counter top or a board. The incense should break back into pieces.
After you gain some experience, you will then know if you want to use more or less incense. You will also know just how much charcoal you can use during your prayer time. If you are burning your incense in your Ikon Corner, out of reverence, the ashes from the censer should be placed somewhere besides the garbage. Maybe out in the yard/garden, a place where no one walks. J
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For Russian string style wicks, thread the cotton strand through the hole of the metal wick holder, so that the wick sticks out about 1/4 to 3/8 inch. You can bend the wick holder slightly to sit on top of the lamp the way that you prefer. I have mine bent just a little bit, so that the center of the holder dips down inside the lamp just a little. If you are using a cork string float, you do not have to bend the wire. Fill your lamp with oil so it just touches the bottom of the cross piece of the metal holder (Russian style). For the Greek style wicks, put one of the wicks up through the cork float, maybe 1/8”– 1/4” above the float.
Allow the wick to soak up the oil for a few minutes, and then light.
If you will be burning your lamp 24/7, you will have to tend to the wick at least once a day, trimming it, and filling the glass with oil. I like to use a jumbo size paper clip (that I have extended out from one end), and I pick off the carbon deposits from the top of the wick. Whatever you do trim off, this must be properly disposed of if used in your Icon corner. You can place them in your incense burner to be burned, or outside in the garden. When the wick is too low, you can use your paper clip to poke the cotton wicking from the bottom, and push a little up through the center hole GENTLY (or maybe use a pair of tweezers to pull up from the top).
Whatever oil, tissues, or wick deposits you clean off, you MUST dispose of it in a worthy manner, if you have it sitting in the presence of your Icons. Vigil Lamps are holy objects when used in your Icon corner, and they are to be treated with respect.
ALWAYS be aware of your lamp when it is burning, and check it periodically. Watch for children and pets if it is at a level where it can be reached.
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